F 7^7 £> S~, N\<i& 7 ^»y $
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
Boston Public Library
Drawn by C. D. Gibson
"A putty ball has been known to penetrate
THE SIDE OF A TALL HAT "
<pto 38o0ton BO50
THE GAMES THEY PLAYED
JAMES D'WOLF LOVETT
JJrtoatelp printed at t\)t Etoerai&e fJresK
COPYRIGHT I906 BY JAMES D'WOLF LOVETT
3^- 'Y, f f^
IN February, 1904, 1 contributed to the
" Boston Evening Transcript " a short
sketch about coasting, as it used to
be practiced by the Boston boys forty-five
years ago. Many pleasant things were said
about it, which amply repaid any efforts
upon my part to make it readable, and then
the matter dropped out of sight ; but re-
cently it came to the notice of an old and
dear friend of mine, — himself an old-time
athlete, — who proposed that I should en-
large upon it and write a collection of re-
miniscences of our early boyhood. With
his well-known generosity and enthusiasm,
he proposed to give a dinner, to which
should be invited a number of our friends
and contemporaries, who in their day had
been prominent oarsmen, cricketers, base-
ball and football players, boxers, gymnasts,
etc., for the purpose of bringing to light
old events which might be available for
To say is to do with my friend, and this
happy thought was promptly carried out.
On November 29, 1904, a most delightful
dinner was given at his residence on Com-
monwealth Avenue, to which the following
named gentlemen were invited : —
GerritS. Miller, Horatio G. Curtis, John
A. Lowell, William H. Alline, Prof. James
B. Ames, Henry W. Lamb, John P. Hall,
Laurence Curtis, Henry K. Bushnell,
George R. Rogers, Edward N. Fenno,
George A. Flagg, Dr. Robert M. Law-
rence, Robert A. Boit, Robert S. Peabody.
That the occasion was a complete success,
and that an evening of rare enjoyment was
the result, it is not necessary to say ; and
to the exuberant flow of reminiscent con-
versation which ensued I am indebted for
much that may interest the old-timers in
the following pages.
"A Putty Ball has been known to pene-
trate the side of A tall hat " Frontispiece
Drawn by C. D. Gibson
Daniel Sargent, First Lieutenant, 24.TH Mass.
\ Vol. Infantry 38
Harvard 'Varsity Crew, 1866 54
Robert F. Clark 56
Volant and Huron Boat Race, June 16, 1857,
showing Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes in a
Harvard 'Varsity Crew, 1858 62
Harvard Boat-Houses as they appeared in
St. George Cricket Eleven, Hoboken, N. J.,
Gerrit S. Miller, and R. Clifford Watson 84
John P. Hall 84
James D'W. Lovett 84
Old Football won by Oneida Football Club
in 1863 92
In possession of Gerrit Smith Miller (Captain)
Drawn, at the age of 14, by Edwin H. Blashfield
"Lannes' Advance" 104
Drawn, at the age of 14, by Edwin H. Blashfield
Henry K. Bushnell, Half-Arm Hold . . . 108
This position, taken before the time of snapshots, was
retained from one and a quarter to one and a half
minutes for this picture
Thomas Kendrick, showing Arm Development 108
Henry K. Bushnell, showing Back Develop-
John C. Doldt, One-Arm Hold 108
A Tremont Gymnasium Group no
A Tremont Gymnasium Group (Caricature), no
Harvard 'Varsity Crew, 1868 112
Harvard-Oxford Crew, 1869 112
Gymnasts at Tremont Gymnasium 116
Lowell Baseball Nine, 1865 146
Harvard Baseball Nine, 1867 J 54
Thomas Nelson . . 172
Lowell Baseball Nine, 1866 176
"There were Fans in those days" . . . .180
Drawn by C. D. Gibson
Harvard Baseball Nine, 1868 182
Lowell Baseball Club and " Rooters " . .184
James D'W. Lovett 186
John A. Lowell 186
Mr. Lowell held the bat with no rest from one and a
quarter to one and a half minutes
M. Mortimer Rogers 186
Lowell Baseball Nine, 1868 192
George Wright ...» , . 202
OLD BOSTON BOYS AND
THE GAMES THEY PLAYED
OLD BOSTON BOYS
AND THE GAMES
IN deep-sea dredging many curious and
unlooked-for things are brought to the
surface, some of great value to the
toiling scientist alone, others of interest to
many ; but by far the greater part of the
" haul " is tossed back again into the depths,
where, no doubt, it will rest undisturbed
It seems to me that in some way resem-
bling this process is the effort used in try-
ing to recall scenes and incidents in one's
life which lie buried beneath a half-cen-
tury's collection of debris in memory's
2 OLD BOSTON BOYS
store -house. Many events long forgot-
ten are brought to light, — some of which
are of value only to the searcher; much
rubbish is thrown back again into lasting
oblivion, while other specimens are dis-
covered that may be found to be of interest
to a few to whom they will recall distant
scenes, in some of which they took an ac-
I hope I may be pardoned for holding
up, for a passing glance, one find from the
rubbish heap which appealed to my first
boyish instincts, as I know it must have
done to multitudes of other boys, before
and since. This is a pair of diminutive,
long-legged boots, — the first boots, —
adorned with bright red tops, and upon the
red field a golden eagle, rampant. These
tiny boots were in a remarkable state of
preservation ; the tops still of a vivid and
magnificent red, and the eagle, all untar-
nished by time, retaining his original bril-
OLD BOSTON BOYS 3
Among the most important events in a
boy's life, the admission to his first " man's "
school stands forth with prominence. I re-
member the feeling of pride and awe which
accompanied me upon the morning of my
debut. It was a good school, and was kept
by Mr. Franklin Phelps, who died but a
few years ago, very aged, and, I believe,
totally blind. He was a most worthy and
estimable man, and will always be held by
me, and, I am sure, by many others of his
pupils, in grateful remembrance. A man
of the old school, he was a born gentleman,
and, while most kind-hearted, would stand
no boy's nonsense, and always spoke
straight to the point with the directness of
a Toledo blade.
The schoolroom was on the corner of
Chestnut and Charles streets, over what
was then Coolidge's provision store. It
had a rough, bare floor, and rudely made
desks and chairs, which bore many jack-
knife testimonials of former occupants.
4 OLD BOSTON BOYS
The room was bare of ornaments or pic-
tures of any description, save a big map
hanging upon the white-plastered wall.
Mr. Phelps lived on West Cedar Street,
with Master Francis Gardner of the Public
Latin School, and fitted boys for this latter
school, — fitted them thoroughly and con-
In a little closet of a room leading off the
schoolroom, he had set up a fine turning-
lathe, and I can see him now with his apron
of ticking, hard at work at recess, the boys
watching him on rainy days. He was a
skilled workman, and, besides useful knick-
knacks, turned out many scholars who in
after years did credit to his wise and
manly example and precept.
Among my schoolmates here were Bob
Lawrence, Archie Howe, Harry Hovey,
Horatio and Albert S. Bigelow, Edgar
Curtis, Dennie Boardman, Jim Hawley,
and Fred and Charlie Lyman.
Mr. Phelps was scrupulously neat, and
OLD BOSTON BOYS 5
gave us many a wholesome talking to about
" dragging in " mud upon our shoes. He
was proud of his ability to keep his own
spotless, and would often hold up one for
our edification, point to it and exclaim,
" Look at that ! not a speck upon it." I
once heard him add, sotto voce, " I verily
believe that boys would like to wallow."
The drinking water was brought from
Brown and Severance's livery stable oppo-
site, and the boy selected for this duty was
counted a lucky one, as it gave him the
opportunity to snatch from the tail of one
of the horses a few hairs, which later were
surreptitiously braided into finger rings.
Some of us will recall the taste of this water
after it had stood in a pail that was painted
In view of the fact that boys of the pre-
sent day leap with one bound, as it were,
from swaddling bands into sack coats and
all the appurtenances thereto, and wear full
evening dress to their first party, it may be
6 OLD BOSTON BOYS
of interest to them to know that the boys
of this earlier period arrived at that dignity
only after three distinct and easy stages,
to wit: first, the jacket, buttoned straight
up the front to the neck (with a clean white
linen collar "basted" in every day); this
jacket was fastened to the trousers by a row
of buttons at the waist line. In the second
stage the buttons were discarded and the
responsibility of sustaining the trousers was
assumed by suspenders, and the delicious
tug of the latter on the broadening shoul-
ders was a constant reminder of the fact
that the wearer was getting on to man's
estate. The third stage was the "open
jacket," as it was called; this involved a
starched shirt bosom and vest, and was a
proud, but at first a painfully conscious,
period. Thus was the way paved to the
full-blown sack coat and cutaway, and the
boy then was, in his own estimation, a
man. These stages gave the boy something
always to look forward to, and kept him
OLD BOSTON BOYS 7
a boy for years, — something which was
healthy and which the present youth seems
There is one product, however, of the
present time which boys do not lack, and of
which we were (most mercifully) deprived.
This is the lethal cigarette ; in those days
one did not see anaemic looking lads (I had
almost said infants) inhaling into their still
immature lungs the poisonous smudge of
burning nicotine. We must, however, plead
guilty to having smoked sweet fern, tea,
grapevine, and even rattan, but our lungs
were reserved for what the Almighty in-
tended them for, namely, pure air, and we
got as much of it into them as we could.
Our first lessons in athletics were learned
in a vacant lot, just below the school, upon
Chestnut Street, where a contractor kept
a large and varied assortment of lumber,
ladders, etc., of all kinds and sizes, and
where, at recess, we passed the time in
doing " stumps."
8 OLD BOSTON BOYS
Private schools in those days were not
too plentiful, and the best were Phelps's,
Sullivan's, under Park Street Church,
Prescott Baker's, in Chapman Place, and
Mr. Dixwell's Private Latin School, in
That Boston in 1854 was a far different
place from the Greater Boston of to-day,
goes without saying, but it is doubtful if
the youth of the present day begins to
realize how very different it actually was.
There was not a single business house
within its limits tall enough to require
an elevator, and if there had been, an ele-
vator was no more thought of then than
a telephone. Horse-cars were not in ex-
istence, steam fire-engines were things
of the future, omnibuses and stages were
the nearest approach to rapid transit, and
the suburbs were indeed " out of town."
A line of omnibuses which ran from the
corner of Beacon and Charles streets to
Coolidge's Corner, in Brookline, was pop-
OLD BOSTON BOYS 9
ular with the residents of the West End,
and a trip in one was a great event for a
child. I remember a weather-beaten driver
of one of these omnibuses, who, upon being
asked the time of starting upon the trips,
invariably droned out, " Quarter a'ter, half
a'ter, quarter to, and at? the last word
causing me much perplexity until it was
explained that it meant " on the even hour."
The office of Town Crier was still in
use. My sympathies were aroused upon
one occasion, when this official drove down
West Cedar Street, stopped at the corner
of Chestnut Street, just opposite my house,
and, after ringing a big dinner-bell, stood
up in his wagon and proceeded to read
from a paper, " Child lost ! four years old,
wore a blue and white checked calico
dress," etc., giving a minute description of
the little girl. Then he started up his horse
with a " g'long ! " and went on to the next
corner, where the performance was re-
THE games played by the boys of
Chestnut and the adjacent streets
are most pleasantly recalled;
among which "I Spy," "The Red Lion,"
and "Punk" stand out prominently. This
last was always popular, the only requisite
being a soft ball, — not too soft, however, for
obvious reasons, when it is known that the
first boy holding it plugged, or "punked,"
the boy that suited him as a mark. A gen-
eral scrimmage then ensued for the posses-
sion of the ball, and the one securing it
promptly " punked " another victim selected
from the rapidly scattering boys.
In the winter, when the snow was thaw-
ing, dams, some of which were quite large,
holding fully two feet of water, were built
OLD BOSTON BOYS n
in the gutters. Part of the fun was for an-
other gang of boys to build a second dam
higher up the street, larger if possible than
the first, and then by making a breach in
it try to wash out the one below.
" Follow my Leader " was a game always
liked by those boys who were willing to
take risks ; and for these there was a fine
field, as the budding Back Bay district
fairly bristled with pile-drivers, derricks,
and houses in process of construction ; in
fact, every opportunity was here presented
for the adventurous boy to break his own
neck and the necks of his foolhardy fol-
lowers. Why some of us were not killed
or maimed for life in this game is to-day
a mystery to me.
We used to try to get some fun out of
the Public Garden, but for the greater part
of the year it seemed a desolate, dreary
kind of place, the " garden " part of it con-
sisting of a single " greenhouse," located
on the Beacon Street path, near Charles
12 OLD BOSTON BOYS
Street. Here an effort was once made by
the city to provide a few amusements for
the public, and several swings were set up,
as well as two " fandangoes," as they were
called, — long, wooden, open-framework
structures, which revolved perpendicularly,
with a swinging seat at each end holding
perhaps four or five persons. One of these
forecasts of the " Ferris Wheel " carried the
victims to a height of forty or fifty feet,
the other being much smaller, and made
presumably for those more timid.
Thinking of our City Fathers in session
considering the appropriation for a " fan-
dango," the picture is forcibly suggested
of some Hibernian member arising, as his
brother alderman of " gondola " fame, in a
certain Western city is said to have done,
long years afterwards, and moving that
" two fandangoes be ordered, a male and
a f am ale ! "
The pond in the Garden was then not
more than half the size of the present one,
OLD BOSTON BOYS 13
innocent of any curbing, with an island in
its centre, upon which grew a large weep-
ing-willow tree. This pond was a popular
rendezvous for skaters and a dangerous
rival to the Frog Pond, but the twigs from
the willow tree had a way of getting frozen
into the ice, thereby causing many a "crop-
per " to the unwary.
Just over a low ridge of ground, which
is now Arlington Street, was the " Back
Bay," a sheet of water that extended from
the Mill Dam to Boston Neck, and many
a time have we boys struck straight across
upon the ice from the corner of Arlington
and Beacon streets, to where Chickering's
piano factory now stands. Farther up the
Bay, however, the skating was most dan-
gerous, the tide water, rushing in and out
through the two gates in the Mill Dam,
which separated this water from Charles
River, wearing away the ice in its course
and rendering it too thin to bear a person's
i 4 OLD BOSTON BOYS
I was one day going up the Bay at full
speed, before the wind, and suddenly found
myself upon ice which undulated under me
like stage waves, and the water, black as
ink, could be seen swirling along under-
neath it. Fortunately the strip was not very
wide, although it seemed a mile, as with
bated breath I skimmed across it. But
when once again on safe ice, I realized,
with a sickly feeling, that the strip must be
recrossed ; so without stopping an instant
to consider the matter, I took a long flying
start, threw the throttle wide open, shut
my eyes, and, not daring to breathe, glided
back over the death trap. The horrible,
reptile-like movement of that ice, with sure
death underneath it, comes back yet, and
brings a creepy feeling along my spine.
Skates in those days were clumsy affairs,
the front end piece curling back over the
foot in a large scroll, usually ornamented
with a brass acorn fixed upon its tip. A
simple straight spike fitted a hole bored in
OLD BOSTON BOYS 15
the boot heel, and the skate was held on to
the boot by straps, necessarily drawn up
almost to the breaking point, and crossing
over the top of the foot, thus most effectu-
ally stopping all circulation and causing
an excruciatingly painful coldness in that
member. Compare this with the modern
method, by which skates are fastened on
in a twinkling by steel clamps, either upon
arrival at the ice, or at leisure at home,
before starting, upon an extra pair of boots
to be slipped on when needed!
Jamaica Pond was, far and away, the
favorite and fashionable skating ground.
Here, almost any afternoon or evening
when the ice was good, could be seen
hundreds of skaters. Skating parties com-
posed of Boston's elite were formed for
visiting the pond, both by day and on
moonlight evenings, and this custom re-
mained popular for years. Here also was
the boys' paradise for ice hockey; the boys
frequently lined up fifty or more strong
16 OLD BOSTON BOYS
on a side, and the constant " mix-ups " that
occurred, in which a hundred or more
hockeys were flying about in reckless con-
fusion, gave onlookers a decided impres-
sion that " something was doing." Surely
those of us now living who took part in
them will feel our pulses beat a trifle
quicker as we recall these hard-fought
contests on old Jamaica Pond.
To go back for a moment to the Public
Garden, it should be said that it was the
camping ground for all visiting circuses.
The Garden was surrounded by a wooden
fence at that time (replaced by the present
iron one in 1862); the entrance to the big
tent was usually at the corner of Beacon
and Charles streets, and later at the gate-
way about half-way along Charles Street.
These circuses were small, one-ring affairs,
and could be put into one of the side
shows of the present circus ; but the people
got just as much fun out of them, and no
doubt many of the clown's "brand-new
OLD BOSTON BOYS 17
jokes " of to-day were heard there, and were
not in the first flush of youth even then.
A great drawing card, always, was the an-
nouncement in the papers that the ele-
phants would bathe in the Frog Pond, at
a given hour ; the big beasts would wade
in to the end of their chains, and, filling
their trunks with water, douche themselves
with enjoyment as huge as their bodies.
Probably any boy of the present day and
generation, if told that fifty years ago there
was neither baseball nor football (as we
know them to-day); that tennis, polo, golf,
lacrosse, and basket ball were unknown,
besides many other athletic sports now so
common, would at once ask, with surprise,
not unmingled with pity, what the boys of
that day did, anyway, for sport and recrea-
tion. Well, he should remember, in the
first place, that it is easy to do without
things of which one has never heard nor
dreamed; and, in the second place, that he
is to-day doing the same thing himself; for
18 OLD BOSTON BOYS
undoubtedly some future boy will one day
be commenting with like surprise and pity
upon the meagreness, as it will then seem,
of to-day's recreations. Sufficient unto the
day are the sports thereof.
The American boy is nothing if not in-
ventive, and anything that can be produced
which will make a noise is dear to his
heart. One of the earliest of such inven-
tions which I recall was named the "locust,"
a harmless production, and one that no
doubt paved the way for the later abomi-
nation known as the " Devil's fiddle." The
locust was made of an old-fashioned, round
wooden match-box, over the open end of
which a piece of kid was tightly stretched ;
a strand or two of horse hair was then
passed in and out of this improvised drum-
head, and the long ends were made into a
loop which ran around in a groove, with a
little resin in it, made at the end of a stick.
The box was then whirled around rapidly,
the result being a sound which almost ex-
OLD BOSTON BOYS 19
actly resembled the note of the insect from
which it received its name.
There were many other ingenious pro-
ductions that were common ; not all, how-
ever, as harmless as the foregoing ; but the
names have passed beyond recall. The
bean-blower, however, can never be forgot-
ten by any boy who ever possessed one;
not only on account of the joys which
came to him through its use, but also the
sorrows, which were visited upon his head
and elsewhere. The bean-blower still gets
in its work, but not with the same beau-
tiful precision as it did then. It had to
be used with stealth, of course, and to be
hidden away in secret places from the eyes
of stern parents.
Speaking of its precision recalls an inci-
dent which occurred at the time the horse-
cars were introduced into Boston. There
was a great protest from the good old Bos-
ton people against laying rails in the hith-
erto unobstructed streets. It seemed like
20 OLD BOSTON BOYS
desecration to them, and the fight against
the innovation was a warm one. The cars
came, however, and the rails were laid.
While a gang of laborers was engaged in
the latter work in Park Square, two of the
sons of one of Boston's best known phy-
sicians, determining to make it as hot as
possible for the invading force, intrenched
themselves behind their blinds and opened
fire with such effect that every time a la-
borer stooped to lift a rail a stinging bean
would pink him where his overalls were
stretched tightest, and he would come to
the perpendicular with a spring like that
of a jack-knife. As smokeless powder was
used, it was some time before the sharp-
shooters could be located ; but they were,
finally, and a call was made at the house,
a complaint laid, apologies tendered, and a
treaty of peace forthwith ratified.
As beans did not always produce the de-
sired effect, pellets of putty were resorted
to eventually, sometimes driven through
OLD BOSTON BOYS 21
glass tubes ; but these did such deadly work
with window panes and street lamps that
they were speedily banished into outer
darkness. A putty ball has been known to
penetrate the side of a tall hat with almost
the ease of a Mauser bullet.
Then there was the bow-gun, a weapon
which made the owner thereof envied by
those of his companions who were not for-
tunate enough to possess one. This was a
homemade article, some of the boys pro-
ducing beautiful specimens, which those
less gifted eagerly purchased ; they had
finely finished black walnut stocks, polished
lancewood bows, strings of catgut, and deli-
cately hung triggers. These guns would
throw a buckshot most spitefully and with
fair precision. When buckshot ran short,
screws and other articles of hardware were
used. During the reign of this weapon,
feline mortality ran high, and the wail of
the widow and orphan was heard upon
rear sheds and fences. But the bow-gun
22 OLD BOSTON BOYS
multiplied too rapidly, and pet cats disap-
peared with too great frequency, and so it,
too, was rigorously stamped out of exist-
The game of hockey was deservedly
popular, and, as then practiced, was no
child's play. Sides would be formed on the
Parade Ground of the Common, and con-
tests would be waged almost daily. Hock-
eys, too, were a homemade article, few
being found for sale in the shops. The
sticks, usually hickory, were cut in the
suburbs, steamed or soaked in boiling water
until the end was pliable, and then bent
to the required curve and tied with stout
cord until perfectly dry. Some were then
wound with copper wire at the point of con-
tact with the ground, and no better hockey
has ever been made since.
The hockey also proved a convenient
weapon when needed, as it often was if the
" South Enders " proved troublesome. And
this brings us to the famous South and
OLD BOSTON BOYS 23
West end scrimmages. Scrimmages, do I
say ? Aye! fights ; battles ; indeed it could
be called a war ; nothing less, for it raged
for years, — -winter and summer. In winter
the war was somewhat less deadly, as snow-
balls were the only ammunition at hand ;
but in summer stones, half bricks, any old
thing, were used ; and then, look out, boys !
For a time, when the Boylston Street end
of the Parade Ground was being filled in,
hundreds of loads of oyster shells were
dumped there, which proved most formid-
able missiles, and razors were indeed " fly-
ing through the air." They were extremely
difficult to dodge, owing to their swallow-
like flight and seeming ability to turn sharp
corners, so that many were the ugly wounds
they inflicted, as they cut like knives. In
these battles, bodies of skirmishers would
be sent around by devious ways to attack
in the rear, and charges would be made at
intervals, when either the West Enders
would be routed and sent flying up Spruce
24 OLD BOSTON BOYS
Street for reinforcements from the " Hill,"
or else the South Enders would beat a
quick retreat through Carver Street or Park
At this time it was quite perilous for
any boy known to be connected with
either side to walk through a street in the
enemy's district, and boys were not unfre-
quently pretty roughly handled while thus
innocently passing on their way. I recall
a case which occurred upon the Common
one morning when I was there before break-
fast for an early run. A West End negro,
well known to me, met a South Ender,
each, no doubt, carrying a well-balanced
chip upon his shoulder, and some grudge
to be settled. Lurid conversation ensued.
Each recommended a warm climate for
the other's health, and picked flaws in his
ancestry, until the representative from the
South End volunteered the advice that
the other should keep out of Carver Street
or he might get " pasted." The negro re-
OLD BOSTON BOYS 25
plied, "You might get pasted, yourself,
and right here and now ; " and with that
he let fly a stone which he had been hold-
ing in his hand and struck the other fairly
in the forehead. The fellow dropped as
limp as a piece of chain, the blood flowing
in a stream. I was thoroughly frightened,
and to avoid connection with a murder, as
I fully thought it to be, got away as fast
as possible. The negro ran another way,
and I never heard the sequel. I think he
died years ago, but I frequently see his
brother upon the street, and always won-
der if he ever knew what happened that
THERE was a large vacant lot
on West Cedar Street, between
Mt. Vernon and Pinckney streets,
the ground of which, at its farther end,
was a good bit higher than that bordering
upon the street. Here was a fine position
for building a snow fort, which we often
did, and then scouts would be sent out
to provoke an assault by the negroes in
Revere Street. One or two well directed
snowballs would stir up the hornets' nest,
and then the scouts would beat a hasty
retreat to the " works," and the fun would
It must be confessed, however, that if
the enemy got too numerous, and capitu-
lation seemed imminent, the friendly back
OLD BOSTON BOYS 27
gate of one of the Louisburg Square houses
was available, it being the residence of one
of our boys, and through this we retreated
to safety with as much dignity as the cir-
stances would permit.
We had the art of making snowballs
down pretty fine, as the saying goes, and
in a very few seconds one could be turned
out as round as an orange, particularly if
the snow was a trifle damp. If a fight was
anticipated for the next day, a large stock
of snowballs was made the afternoon be-
fore and carefully left to freeze over night,
and if one of these struck an adversary, he
did not have to be told of the fact. Any
one who has been hit by a cold snowball,
upon a cold ear, upon a cold day, will at
once recall the sensation and remember
that instead of his feeling the cold, the
thought instantly occurred that something
red-hot had happened to him.
To test our skill in throwing, we used
to draw a ring around us with a hockey
28 OLD BOSTON BOYS
or any other implement handy, and then,
standing stationary, throw the ball as high
as we could, straight into the air, and see if
it would fall back within the circle. Some
of us could do jt nearly every time. There
was a boy named John Faulkner, who
lived on West Cedar Street, who could
throw a snowball as swiftly and as accu-
rately as any boy I ever saw, and I hope
that if he is living this tribute to his
boyish skill will come to his notice and
awaken pleasant remembrances. He was
a valuable hand in a fight, and the enemy
sought cover when he opened fire.
The Italians who used to vend plaster
casts of Apollo, Venus, etc., carried upon
a long wooden tray, resting upon the head,
and who used to cry "" Eemo-gees ! " were
sometimes marks for snowballic skill ; but
they were unfair targets, as no chance for
retaliation was afforded the victim : he had
to lower his tray with great deliberation
and care in order to see what damage had
OLD BOSTON BOYS 29
been done, and when this had been accom-
plished the boy was probably out of sight
two blocks away.
When defending a fort, the best shots
were given the places of honor, and snow-
balls were made and passed to them by the
lesser lights. These picked men generally
held in their left hands a bit of flat stick
which was used as a shield, upon which
the enemy's snowballs were received,
thus enabling them to stand upright to
their work with far more effect than if
they had been kept dodging and ducking
behind the ramparts. These sticks also
discouraged opponents from rushing the
fort, as they were then turned into weapons
of defense and used with great effect upon
any part of the enemy attempting to scale
Of course the winter sport par excellence
was coasting, and those Boston boys whose
boyhood was at the zenith in the fifties
include coasting, as it was then practiced,
30 OLD BOSTON BOYS
among the lost arts. If any of the young-
sters of to-day are inclined to laugh at
this statement, let any one of them, athlete
though he may be, take a running start
of from three to ten yards at full speed
with the sled following at the end of its
cord, and when sufficient impetus has
been acquired, throw it ahead, letting the
line fall along the seat, at the same time
launching his body, curved bow-wise, for-
ward through the air, alighting breast first,
with no apparent effort, jar, or retardment
of speed as softly as a falling snowflake,
upon the flying sled as it shoots under-
neath. This would be called a pretty, acro-
batic feat to-day, but was too common then
to attract special notice. That 's the dif-
All coasting in those days was racing,
pure and simple. Prominent sleds were as
well known among the boys as race horses
and yachts are to-day, and on any Satur-
day afternoon hundreds of spectators might
OLD BOSTON BOYS 31
be seen hedging in the " Long Coast,"
which ran from the corner of Park and
Beacon streets to the West Street entrance
and as much farther along Tremont Street
Mall as one's impetus would carry him.
A squad of coasters would be bunched
together at the top of this coast, holding
their sleds like dogs in leash, waiting for
some " crack " to lead off. As he straight-
ened himself and started on his run with
the cry of " Lullah ! " to clear the way, it
was the signal for all to follow, and one
after another would string out from the
bunch after him, in rapid succession, each
keen to pass as many of those ahead as
possible, the lesser lights being careful not
to start until the " heavyweights " had
sped on their way.
The walk back uphill was made inter-
esting by discussing the merits, faults,
lines, etc., of the noted sleds, and if, as
often happened, invidious comparisons
were made between a "South End" and
32 OLD BOSTON BOYS
a " West End " sled, a lively and not alto-
gether unwelcome scrap, then and there,
was usually the logical outcome.
Sleds (the first-class ones) were made
with much care and skill, and cost propor-
tionately. Natural black walnut was a fa-
vorite material, finished either with a fine
dead polish or a bright surface, varnished
with as much care as a coach ; the name,
if it bore one, was usually a fine specimen
of lettering in gold or bright colors. The
model was carefully planned, and the lines
were graceful and a delight to the eye of a
connoisseur. Black enameled leather, bor-
dered by gold or silver headed tacks, made
a popular seat, and the "irons," as they
were called, were made of the best "silver
steel," whatever that meant. They were
kept burnished like glass, with constant
care and fine emery and oil, and a streak
of ashes or a bare spot was avoided as a
yacht steers clear of rocks.
The amount of " spring " given to the
OLD BOSTON BOYS 33
irons was also a matter of moment, and a
nice gradation of the same was thought to
have influence on the speed; it certainly
added greatly to one's bodily comfort.
" Let 's see your irons " was a common
request, and the owner thus honored would
jerk his sled up on its hind legs, so to
speak, wipe off the steel with mitten or
handkerchief, and show off the bright sur-
face with much pride.
The most popular coasts were the " Long
Coast " already mentioned, the Joy Street
coast, Beacon Street Mall, and the " Big "
or " Flagstaff " Hill, the flagstaff standing
on the spot now graced by the Soldiers'
Monument. The hill was much higher
than it is now, the ground around it hav-
ing been raised in recent years. Many of
the boys will recall the evenings spent on
Mount Vernon and Chestnut streets and
Branch Avenue, — the latter then known
as " Kitchen " Street.
Fancy a laughing, shouting crowd, in
34 OLD BOSTON BOYS
these days of police surveillance, coasting
down public streets until eleven o'clock
at night! But the Civil War came and
changed many things, coasting among the
rest. Most of the laughing, careless crowd
enlisted at the first note of the country's
call, and their boyhood came to a sudden
end as the sound of drum and fife stirred
all hearts to sterner things. Some came
back, buf many, alas, stayed behind with
the great silent army, and it is for us who
are left to keep their memories green until
we too are enlisted in the same ranks.
It will, I am sure, be of interest to many
who remember those days, to see once
more the old familiar names of a few of the
crack sleds of Boston at that period, and
to have recalled to their minds who the
owners of them were.
Wivern Bob Clark
Raven Arthur Clark
Brenda Dan Sargent
Charlotte Alfred Greenough
OLD BOSTON BOYS
Comet . . .
Eagle . .
Arrow . .
Multum in Parvo
Whiz! . .
Flirt . .
Scud . .
Cygnet . .
Alma . .
Viking . .
Of course there were many sleds equally
fine which bore no name; prominent
among this latter class should be men-
36 OLD BOSTON BOYS
tioned the one owned by Tom Edmands
and also one which was made and owned
by Charlie Lovett, both of them beautiful
in grace, workmanship, and finish. There
was one sled, named the " Edith," which
always appealed to me as being more nearly
perfect than any that I can remember. I
cannot recall the owner's name, but I
fear that whenever I saw this sled the
tenth commandment was handled pretty
Steering a first-class sled in those days
was not accomplished by sticking out one's
leg and digging gullies in the snow with
the toe of the boot. Heaven forbid ! Those
who owned crack sleds knew how to handle
and get all the speed possible out of them,
and would no more have retarded the speed
by employing the above method than a
yachtsman would think of steering his boat
by towing a spar overboard. The correct
form for a coaster who knew the game was
to lie on the sled with head well down, feet
OLD BOSTON BOYS 37
firmly crossed and knees flexed as far over
the back as possible, both hands resting
easily upon the same runner near its point ;
the steering was done by "pulling her head
'round " in the desired direction, by little
short jerks of the runner upon which the
Dan Sargent conceived the idea of steer-
ing by holding out in front of his sled
a second one of diminutive proportions.
This, however, could only be done on a
steep coast, where no running start was
necessary. I saw him try it several times,
but it was never adopted. The first step to
the " double runner " was two sleds hitched
together tandem, and then the long con-
necting board quickly followed.
Street coasting was dangerous and re-
sulted in accidents of all kinds, especially
where the coast was intersected by another
street. A big, heavy negro was one day
coasting down Mt. Vernon Street on glare
ice, and just before he reached Charles
38 OLD BOSTON BOYS
Street a sledge drawn by one horse moving
at a walk came into sight. The coaster had
no time to think or swerve from his course,
and with lightning speed shot under the
horse's belly without touching a hoof. It
was a close shave.
Usually a boy stood at such a place to
signal to those about to start, when the
coast was clear. I remember a boy going
down the " Long Coast" with one leg
stuck out for a rudder, as I have mentioned
above, when another sled, overtaking him,
struck the projection, whirling him around
so that he faced up hill, and the next sled
struck him full in the face, making sad
A funny incident occurred one morn-
ing upon the Joy Street coast. A colored
washerwoman, weighing some two hun-
dred pounds, was ponderously and labori-
ously picking her way down the icy path,
carrying upon her head a large bundle of
laundered clothes. She was so absorbed in
FIRST LIEUT. DANIEL SARGENT
24th Mass. Vol. Infantry
OLD BOSTON BOYS 39
her efforts to maintain her footing that she
failed to hear, or else did not understand,
the cry of " Lullah ! " behind her. At all
events, she kept stolidly upon her way, and
the coaster, rattling down behind, kept
upon his, perforce, being held to the coast
by the ruts and going too fast to turn out.
Of course the inevitable happened, and
the colored lady, first lifted with startling
abruptness, was then, fortunately for her,
seated astride the back of the frightened
boy, who continued on down the coast
faster than ever, owing to the added weight.
When she collected her senses, and found
herself neither killed nor wounded, she fell
to berating the poor lad with a wonderful
flow of language, at the same time pound-
ing and whacking him about his ears and
shoulders during the remainder of the trip.
The gentleman who told me of this con-
tretemps added with a laugh that he would
not have minded it quite so much if she
had only landed " side saddle."
4 o OLD BOSTON BOYS
But enough of old-time coasting. We
old boys who knew it then, and loved the
sport, will still think that it should be
classed among the lost arts.
IN the spring, as soon as the frost was
out of the ground, many games stood
waiting for us. Probably to the boys
of to-day " marbles " sounds rather weak,
and " Go and play marbles" is a phrase
which one often hears hurled at the head
of some unsuccessful competitor in field
sports. It is true that it cannot be classed
among athletics, but it was a much more
serious business then than it is to-day,
and was played with a good deal of skill.
To shoot an " alley " with force and pre-
cision, " knuckling down/' that is, with the
knuckles resting upon the ground, is not
so easy and requires much practice.
A boy's stock of marbles was usually car-
ried in a bag with a running string, and
42 OLD BOSTON BOYS
consisted of " Alleys," " Jaspers," " Chi-
nees," " Pewees," "Agates," " Bulls' Eyes,"
and several other kinds. A special marble
was kept for long shots, which might per-
haps have been six feet, and it was remark-
able how many times a small marble would
be struck at this distance, with only the
snap of the thumb.
I wonder if Mr. Rogers, a most courteous
and dignified gentleman, whom I often
see, remembers his skill at this sport ! He
was as expert as any boy of whom I can
think. He, among many others, used to
run a " bank," as we called it, — which con-
sisted of a strip of wood, perhaps twelve
or fifteen inches long, with six or eight lit-
tle arches cut in it, each somewhat wider
than a marble, and numbered from one
up. This row of arches was held upright
upon the ground, and the marksman, a
few feet away, would shoot his marble
with the object of entering one of the
arches ; if he succeeded, he was given the
OLD BOSTON BOYS 43
number of marbles which corresponded
with the number over the arch, while, if he
failed, the marble was appropriated by the
Then there was " ring taw " and " three
holes," and lots of other names which have
been forgotten. These games were good
fun, and kept boys out of doors as well as
out of mischief.
Kite-flying had and always will have a
fascination for boys. Few "grown-ups,"
however, give it any attention at the pre-
sent day, except in the interest of science.
Formerly many gentlemen used to make
kites for their children, and meet upon the
Common to fly them. The late Dr. Na-
thaniel B. Shurtleff, once mayor of Bos-
ton, the writer's father, and several others
made fine kites. Dr. Shurtleff was very
skillful in making Chinese kites ; I remem-
ber several which resembled owls, with
large, blinking eyes, and which were most
effective in the air. My father once made
44 OLD BOSTON BOYS
a bow-kite seven feet high, a piece of rat-
tan forming the bow. It had a " pull " which
would have delighted the heart of a politi-
cian ; one afternoon I was allowed to hold
the cross-bar to which the string was at-
tached, but I did not hold it long, as, al-
though I dug both heels into the ground,
it drew me along with the utmost ease.
Stout gloves were required in letting out
and pulling in the string of this kite.
Many gentlemen used to fish for perch,
flounders, and eels off " Perch Rocks," as
they were called. These rocks were the
commencement of the wall bordering upon
Charles River, back of the Beacon Street
houses, and extended at that time perhaps
an eighth of a mile out from River Street,
several hundred yards beyond where the
filling had been done. Here the gentle-
men would meet and spend a pleasant
afternoon, and right glad was I when taken
along and allowed to hold a line. Once I
grew tired, waiting for the bite which did
OLD BOSTON BOYS 45
not come; so, fastening my line, I wan-
dered off to the stone-cutters' sheds near
by, to watch the men at their work. Upon
coming back and taking hold of my line,
I was surprised and delighted to feel that
there was a monster upon the hook. I
commenced to haul in the line with shouts
of triumph, and as the prize rose to the
surface I gazed into the leg of an old rub-
ber boot that one of the party had attached.
As he afterwards salved my wounded dig-
nity with a bright dime, which looked big
to a boy in those days, the wound quickly
Tops, of course, had their innings, and
some of the older boys used to get theirs
turned to order, from hard, fancy woods,
such as lignum vitae, rose, box, tulip, leo-
pard, and many other woods. These had
long and sharp steel spikes fixed in them,
with which we would try to split each
other's tops while spinning. Since then I
have never seen boys, playing at this sport,
46 OLD BOSTON BOYS
throw the tops with their utmost strength,
as we used to do.
Stilting, too, was a fad for a time, and
some got to be quite expert at the game,
hopping upon one stilt and shouldering
the other. We would in this fashion have
jousts, necessarily short-lived, handling the
unused stilt as a lance. Games of tag, too,
were played upon stilts, and in fact we got
to feel pretty much at home upon them.
" Tip-cat " was also a popular game.
One occasionally sees it played to-day, but
not to the extent that it was then. Not
content with small soft wood cats, two or
three inches in length, we made them of a
section of broom handle and about six or
eight inches long, using the remainder of
the handle for the cat-stick. With the
three strokes which were allowed in this
game, I have seen a cat of the latter kind
sent from the Spruce Street path on the
Common over the Public Garden fence.
Charlie Troupe, who was a fine player at
OLD BOSTON BOYS 47
the old "Massachusetts "game of baseball,
made these three strokes; they held the
record, and I very much doubt if any cat
has ever jumped as far since.
THERE was a startling announce-
ment in the papers one morning to
the effect that an ancient cave had
been discovered upon the Common. Many-
people went to see it, I among the number;
and there, sure enough, near the Boylston
Street end of the Parade Ground, a sort of
canvas covering had been erected over a
good-sized excavation into which people
were entering by means of a rudely made
stairway. I forget whether or not a small
admission fee was charged (probably there
was, or I should have gone in) ; but any-
way, those who came out looked a little
sheepish, at the same time urging others
to go in and get their money's worth of
the mysterious. Of course it soon dawned
OLD BOSTON BOYS 49
upon everybody that it was April 1 ; this,
however, did not deter them from going
in just the same, to see what the joke
was like, and all seemed to enjoy it; prob-
ably the originators reaped quite a little
There was one spot in Boston which will
never fade from the memories of those who
knew it. This was " Braman's Baths " at
the foot of Chestnut Street. In the fifties
there was a competitor in " Morey's Baths,"
but these latter were discontinued, if I re-
member aright, some time before the Civil
War. Braman's was a notable institution,
and possessed attractions for a boy that
can hardly be overestimated. It was, in the
first place the only bath-house in tide water
in Boston. It consisted of a series of low
wooden buildings built on piles, and was
redolent of a strong odor of salt water,
with which it seemed to be saturated, like
no other place I have ever known, except
perhaps the moss-covered piles under a
50 OLD BOSTON BOYS
bridge ; and even more than these, it seemed
to have a distinct quality of salty smell all
Long, curious passageways and gang-
planks led finally to the swimming basin,
which was anchored in the river. There
was a fee charged of course, for baths, and
some of us were the possessors of season
tickets, entitling the holders thereof to one
bath per diem; but if we wanted two, it
was a cold day for us when we could n't
get them in one way or another known only
to boys. Rainy days offered no obstacles,
and even a hail storm which I well recall,
in which we felt as though being tattooed
upon every exposed part of our bodies at
once, could not keep us from the water.
There was an outside row of dressing-
rooms upon a platform, from which one
could enter the river itself ; but only expert
swimmers were allowed there. In the fall,
these bathing houses were towed up the
river and grounded for the winter upon the
OLD BOSTON BOYS 51
flats. Apart from the bathing, " Braman's "
was certainly a most fascinating place. In
vacation time we would congregate early,
and literally spend the day there, with only
an interim for a hurried dinner.
There were two or three big rafts, where
boats were to let, the rowboats tied to them
and the sailboats anchored off a short dis-
tance. Many boats of all kinds were owned
by private persons and were kept either
in their own boat-houses, or in club-houses
along with a number of others.
Although these recreations — swimming,
rowing, and sailing — are so common to-
day, it must be borne in mind that, at this
period of which I am writing, this was the
only rendezvous of the kind in Boston.
It was here that, on regatta days, all the
rowing celebrities congregated, and here
such men as Josh Ward, the Biglin Bro-
thers; Hammill, Walter Brown, and many
others were revealed to us. Merely to catch
a glimpse of them I have squirmed between
52 OLD BOSTON BOYS
the legs of a crowd and all but crawled
over their heads ; but these were state oc-
casions and occurred, alas, like angels'
Yes, " Braman's " was a unique collection
of queer buildings, and as different from
the cut-and-dried public baths of to-day as
fragrant country lanes are from the city
streets. Such a place would be impossible
nowadays. There was within its depths a
well-remembered lunch counter, past which
it was difficult for a hungry boy (and when
were we not hungry?) to pass without a
business transaction. Boys, do you re-
member those black mince "slugs," the
turnovers, the hard-tack which we used to
soak in the swimming basin and eat while
bathing, the spruce beer, and the apple
" dough bats " ? The exterior of these last
was of a beautiful doughnut brown, and
they contained in some part of their depths
a trace more or less of apple sauce, like the
ring in a cake ; one never knew when the
OLD BOSTON BOYS 53
prize would be reached, but if it was there
we never failed to reach it, and the won-
der of it is that all these things tasted so
From the raft of the Beacon or Union
Club a small party of us used, in the early
sixties, to row almost daily either up to the
Harvard Boat-house or else down, under the
bridges, to the harbor. Usually the party
was composed of two, three, or four, as the
case might be, of the following named:
Bill and Tom Blaikie, John Tyler, Ned
Clark, John Hall, Billy Sanguilly, Frank
Jackson, and myself. Sometimes Bob, Fred,
or Sam Frothingham was of the party.
Who of us who knew the last named will
ever forget him or cease to regret his sad
death? Handsome of face, with broad
shoulders, deep chest, small waist, narrow
hips, and a big, kind heart, he was a rare
combination of manly beauty, strength, and
grace. I cannot pass him by without this
slight tribute to a dear old friend.
54 OLD BOSTON BOYS
Upon our way home from these pulls
we would usually stop for a swim, either
at " Horseshoe Point " or at " Sugar Loaf."
Bill Blaikie at that time used always to
row bareheaded, declaring that the Al-
mighty knew the correct headgear for a
man and gave it to him accordingly. The
rest of us, however, lacked sufficient faith
in this theory to brave the risk of sun-
stroke. Blaikie, by the way, could at that
time, with his hands alone, lift a dead
weight of sixteen hundred pounds. This,
for a man not over twenty years of age,
was surely a gigantic feat. He did it re-
peatedly at the old Tremont Gymnasium.
Later on he was a power in the Harvard
' Varsity boat, and the crew of which he
rowed stroke was never beaten. The other
members of this celebrated crew were Bob
Peabody, Ned Fenno, A. P. Loring, Ned
^Wilkinson, and Charlie McBurney. In
action, with bronzed bodies, capped with
crimson, plying that piston-rod stroke, this
six was a sight to remember !
IN the late fifties Boston could boast
of having some of the best oarsmen
in the country, amateurs though they
might be. As a single sculler, " Bob "
Clark (lately chairman of the Boston
Police Board) was unapproachable. Upon
June 22, 1859, in his shell L'Esperance,
he made the time of 13.52 over a two-mile
course, one mile out and return, against
Tom Doyle and Eben Harrington; the
former finishing in 14.42% and the latter
in 15.50. This time of Clark's held the
record for sixteen years! He literally
played with all comers. In one of his
races he came in so far ahead of his op-
ponents that the spectators would not
believe that he had turned the stake-
56 OLD BOSTON BOYS
boat, until all doubts were set at rest
by the other participants in the race and
by the judge who was stationed at that
The old Volant crew was also well-nigh
invincible, and was made up of such metal
as Robert H. Stevenson and his brother
Thomas (afterwards that magnificent sol-
dier, Brigadier-General Thomas G. Steven-
son), Robert F. and Arthur Clark, John
Putnam, and Robert M. Pratt. In chroni-
cling the prowess of this splendid crew, of
which Boston was so proud, I cannot do
better than to give verbatim the following
report of their race with the Huron, as
it appeared in " Ballou's Pictorial " for
June 20, 1857, along with a sketch of the
finish, referred to therein.
"BOAT RACE ON CHARLES RIVER."
" The exciting scene depicted on this
page, by our artist, Mr. Hill, who made
the drawing expressly for us, is the con-
ROBERT F. CLARK
OLD BOSTON BOYS 57
elusion of the race between the club boats,
Huron and Volant, which took place on
the 1 6th ult, in presence of a large con-
course of spectators. The locality is faith-
fully represented. The houses in the back-
ground of the picture are the fine ones
recently built on Western Avenue; in
front and to the left, are Braman's baths
and boat-houses. From the baths, a line
was drawn to the judges' boat, to form a
starting point for the race ; the Volant is
represented as having crossed it, and the
Huron coming up. In the foreground is
the judges' boat; beyond the Volant is one
of the boats of the Union Club ; and the
gentleman pulling the extremely narrow
one is Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, the
poet, who is very partial to this manly
exercise, for which no city in the world
has such facilities as Boston, the fine ex-
panse of Charles River being unimpeded
by navigation and the dangers incident
to the passage of steamers. Our sketch,
58 OLD BOSTON BOYS
through the kindness of Mr. Braman, was
made from the judges' boat.
" Of the two boats engaged in this spir-
ited race, the Huron is owned by a club
of Harvard College students, and the Vo-
lant is well known as the champion of the
Charles River Association. The race was
not for money, but a set of colors was to
be given by the loser to the winner in
the generous contest. The race was to be
pulled over the usual three-mile course on
Charles River, the boats to be governed
by ordinary rules, to start from the judges'
line at half-past four, to round the stake
at the upper end, pulling starboard oars.
Both crews had been thoroughly and
severely trained and came to the line in
most excellent condition. The following
are the names and positions of the crews,
as reported in the * Traveller : * Volant —
Stroke, R. H. Stevenson, No. 2, A. H.
Clark, No. 3, J. C. Putnam, No. 4, R. Pratt,
No. 5, R. F. Clark, No. 6, T. G. Steven-
VOLANT AND HURON B^AT RACE, JUNE 16, 1857
O. W. Holmes, at left, i n wherry
OLD BOSTON BOYS 59
son ; Huron — Stroke, S. B. Parkman, No.
2, C. F. Walcott, No. 3, W. H. Elliot, No.
4, W. G. Goldsmith, No. 5, A. E. B. Agas-
siz, No. 6, J. J. Storrow. Mr. Grenville T.
W. Braman acted as judge for the Volant,
and Mr. Alfred Whitman, Jr., for the
"At quarter-past four the gun was fired,
the boats disappeared under their houses
for a moment, and in another minute came
out — the crews stripped and ready for the
race. The Volants wore scarlet caps, white,
close-fitting body shirts, and dark trousers ;
the Hurons, white flat caps, with red band,
white shirts, and white trousers. Both
crews looked admirably. The judges were
between the boats, able to see that they
were even and to direct their movements
with much greater facility than is possible
from a boat moored at the end of the line.
The word was given by Mr. Whitman, and
the boats started at 4 h. 37 min. 30 sec.
The Volant led. She had gained a length
60 OLD BOSTON BOYS
at the end of the first eighth of a mile, and
throughout the race pulled steadily ahead
of her rival, at no time losing any part of
her advantage. Off the lower breakwater,
on the up-stretch, there were two lengths
of clear water between the boats. The dis-
tance of the Volants increased to three or
four at the upper breakwater — they were
at least five ahead after rounding the stake,
and on the home-stretch gained in about
the same proportion, coming in with a
lead of ten or eleven lengths. Both boats
having started at 4 b. 37 min. 30 sec. re-
turned as follows : Volant, 4 h. 58 min.
30 sec. — time, 21 min.; Huron, 4 h. 59
min. 8 sec. — time, 2 1 min. 38 sec. ; differ-
ence in favor of the Volant, 38 sec. The
time is good ; better, the ' Traveller ' says,
than any amateur six-oar has made in pub-
lic on this course. Neither boat, however,
came down to its practice time. The Hu-
ron has been round in 20 min. 50 sec. ; and
it is said the Volant has accomplished it
OLD BOSTON BOYS 61
in 19 min. 52 sec, which, if correct, is very
much better than anything recorded. This
sport was witnessed with much interest by
the spectators." 1
Besides the Volant, there were the Fort
Hill Boy, Maid of Erin, Robert Emmet,
Shamrock, Sterling, Bunker Hill, and
others — most of them manned by hardy
longshoremen, all fine athletes, some of
whom were nearly always to be found in
the 17th of June and 4th of July regattas,
and they always gave a good account of
themselves. I give a few brief sketches of
some of these old races, which were taken
from the files of the Boston " Herald " and
Upon July 4, 1856, in the single-scull
race, Daw, in the Brooklyn Boy, beat Tom
Daly in the Stephen Roberts, by a small
margin, and on the same day the Rob-
ert Emmet was beaten by the Harvard
manned by Parkman, Crowninshield, El-
1 See Appendix, p. 220.
62 OLD BOSTON BOYS
liott, Erving, Walcott, Ropes, and Gold-
smith. In 1857, July 4, the Harvard
beat Fort Hill Boy, Robert Emmet, Sham-
rock, Bunker Hill, and Sterling in 19.22.
In the single sculls, Bob Clark, in the
Blackbird, took things easily and beat Tom
Doyle and two or three others by several
lengths, in 14.54. Doyle rowed the D. E.
Poland. The prizes were awarded by Mr.
Charles F. Shimmin — he and the two
Stevenson brothers being the judges.
June 19, 1858, on the Charles River, in
the second annual Beacon Regatta, the
Harvards once more beat the Fort Hill
Boy, their rival of the previous year, in a
three-mile race, in 19.22, — the latter com-
ing in second, two minutes behind them.
The Fort Hill Boy's crew of 'longshore-
men, being now thoroughly disgruntled by
these repeated defeats by those whom they
termed " Beacon Street swells," determined
to arrange a race with them that should
effectually show the difference between
(/5 c/) r )
OLD BOSTON BOYS 63
brawn and brains, and put these " lady's
pets " in their proper place in boat-racing.
Accordingly they challenged the Harvards
to row a six-mile race (twice over the usual
three-mile course). The Harvards, nothing
daunted, accepted the challenge with the
responsiveness of a gamecock, and upon
July 5 again showed their heels to the
Irish crew in 40.25, beating them by nearly
a minute and a half. 1
The time made by these oarsmen has
since been beaten, mainly owing to im-
provements in boat construction and to the
valuable addition of the sliding seat, which
was then unknown. Race horses have been
improved since the 2.40 days, by careful
breeding, and in this era of the pneumatic
sulky the old records are laughed at ; but
no improvement has been made, or can be
made, on the splendid athletes and water-
men of the old days of which I write.
1 See Appendix, p. 222.
DURING this period I was, of
course, a mere lad; but in the
early sixties, through the experi-
ence which I have related I grew to know
Charles River thoroughly, in its every
nook and corner, from Braman's to the
Harvard boat-house, and loved it well. I
often used to start off alone on pulls, and
the mere drifting along with lazy strokes,
feeling as free as a bird in air, was an un-
mixed delight, never to be forgotten.
In rowing around to Boston Harbor
there was a railroad bridge, which at high
tide nearly touched the water, and was at
such times a ticklish place to pass in a
boat. John Tyler, one of the best oarsmen
of his day (in the sixties), was once work-
OLD BOSTON BOYS 65
ing his way under the bridge at full flood
tide and got jammed in some way just as
a train came roaring along, barely three
feet above his head. He could only lie
down and await the issue, — and he used
to tell of the trying experience through
which he passed as the train thundered
above him, while hot ashes came sifting
down upon him and his boat. He never
tried it again except when there was
plenty of space to row quickly beneath
A pleasant remembrance of this time is
a fast little green dory, owned by Ned
Holmes, youngest son of Dr. Oliver Wen-
dell Holmes ; for in it he and I made many
delightful trips to all points of the Charles
as well as Boston Harbor. Young Holmes
was a delightful companion, and I am
sure that Dr. Fred Sturgis will recall the
" green dory," as we called it, with as much
pleasure as I do, for he rowed in it as often
66 OLD BOSTON BOYS
In the winter Charles River afforded
plenty of sport in duck shooting, and spear-
ing for eels through the ice, for those who
were hardy enough to brave the cold. My
brother is the only one whom I can recall
who used to " lay out " for ducks, night
after night, upon the ice. He had built
himself a skiff with iron rods laid along the
bottom, to act as runners ; and with the
aid of these he would proceed from one
" pond hole " to another. The skiff was
disguised with hay and pieces of eel grass
and ice, so that it resembled a mass of
floating debris, of which the ducks had no
mistrust. He would quietly slide his skiff
into a pond hole, and, if a flock of ducks
was there, feeding at low tide, lie upon his
back, sculling noiselessly over his shoulder
until within range, and he seldom failed to
bring home a good bag in the morning.
He used to tell of an amusing incident
which occurred one morning before it was
fairly light, while he was upon his way
OLD BOSTON BOYS 67
home. He was close in to the Mill Dam
and saw three or four laborers walking to
their work. Thinking to see how they
would take it, he lay back in the boat
until they were opposite, and then, when
they were looking his way, suddenly sat
up in what must have appeared to them a
floating coffin, and, stretching out his arms,
gave a loud and sepulchral yawn. The
men were confounded and then panic-
stricken, and with the cry of " Begod, it *s
a monk ! " incontinently fled. As my
brother had on a nearly white overcoat,
trimmed with white fur, the effect in the
dim light may have warranted their belief
that something supernatural was happen-
When the old hand engines went out of
business, a lot of fun went with them. I
" ran " with Cataract No. 4, it being in-
cumbent upon every boy to run with and
"blow" for the engine in his district; and
a boy without a " tub," as they .were called
68 OLD BOSTON BOYS
in the vernacular, was like a man without
a country. There was Mazeppa No, i, Per-
kins No. 2, Eagle No. 3, Cataract No. 4,
Extinguisher No. 5, Melville No. 6, Tiger
No. 7, Boston No. 8, Maverick No. 9, Dun-
bar No. 10, Barnicoat No. n, Tremont
No. 12, and two or three more.
Number Four's house stood on piles over
Charles River directly opposite the foot of
Mt. Vernon Street. It was built of wood,
but has since been replaced by a brick
structure, turned around into line with the
rest of the buildings on Mt. Vernon Street
and occupied by Steamer No. 10.
There was great rivalry between certain
engine companies, and this party feeling
was, of course, communicated to the boys
residing in the rival districts. " What tub
do yer blow for ? " when sprung upon one
by a strange boy, who looked as though he
were " spoiling for a fight," was a hail to be
answered with great circumspection and
diplomacy.- Prevarication was deemed jus-
OLD BOSTON BOYS 69
tifiable if the one asked this straight-from-
the-shoulder question was a smaller boy.
If the latter knew what tub the questioner
himself favored, it was plain sailing, and a
little of the aforesaid prevarication covered
a multitude of troubles ; but if this impor-
tant fact were unknown, aye, there was
the rub ! Then was the time to exercise
finesse, remembering that a soft answer
turneth away wrath: to temporize, or
squarely aver that you did n't " blow " for
any tub, and so avoid issue. But, on the
other hand, if one felt a little " scrappy "
himself and thought he had a good fight-
ing chance, then the flag was boldly flaunted
and he waded in.
The engine companies themselves in
going to a fire were bound to get there, if
possible, before a rival, so as to get the first
stream started ; if they met, — well, one of
them had to give way, and oftentimes this
involved some pretty free fighting. The
motto in these cases seemed to be, " Let
70 OLD BOSTON BOYS
the old thing burn, if it will, but you don't
get there before we do."
Sometimes, by way of diversion, an en-
gine would try to " wash " a rival, — that
is, endeavor to pump water into her faster
than her boys could pump it out, and if
this were effected, and she were overflowed,
great was the rejoicing thereat. But if, on
the other hand, the receiving engine's boys
could pump off the water faster than it
came in, so that the hose could be heard
to suck air, then the victory lay with them
and was duly heralded abroad.
It certainly was exciting to see two or
more rival engine companies pitted against
one another upon the Common, to decide
which could throw a stream the farthest.
Judges were selected and the crews would
" man the brakes " and at a given signal
fall to, the water being drawn from the
Frog Pond. A captain would stand on the
top of his machine and exhort his men to
" break their lazy backs." " Don't go to
OLD BOSTON BOYS 71
sleep, men," he would roar, and, working
himself into a frenzy, with his arms gestic-
ulating wildly, and waving aloft his speak-
ing trumpet, he would swear that they were
a set of " stiffs." " For God's sake, my
bully boys, work as if you were alive."
" That 's the stuff, now, my beauties ; don't
let her strike " (meaning the shoulder of
the piston upon the chamber in which it
played). " Shake it out of her, now ; one,
two; one, two; now you've got it! Oh,
just one foot further, if you love me ! "
And so he would keep it going until the
time was up and a verdict was rendered.
Yes, lots of fun went out when the steam-
ers came in.
The engine was drawn by a long rope
manned by the firemen, and any boy who
could get a hand on that rope felt that he
had won his spurs. After a fire the men,
upon returning to the engine house, usu-
ally had a long table set out with a lunch
of crackers and cheese, — or at least it was
72 OLD BOSTON BOYS
so at Cataract's house, and as I knew Alex.
Towne, one of the best men of the com-
pany, I often got in and partook of the
Towne was the strongest man on the
team, and could, standing with his back
to the engine, lift her hind wheels clear
of the ground. I do not know how many-
pounds this represented, but he was the
only one who could do it.
The loyalty of the fire laddies to their
engine is well illustrated by the legend
which was told of one of them who was
dying, and whose last request was, " When
I die, cut off me ears and bury 'em under
de engine house, so that I can hear de old
mashine rattle as she rolls out."
Charlie Chamberlin, then living on
Charles Street, had a miniature engine, the
exact counterpart of a full grown " tub,"
with which we had lots of fun. Among its
crew were George Mifflin, Fred Crownin-
shield, George Johnson, myself, and others.
OLD BOSTON BOYS 73
It was made of copper and stood about
three and one half feet from the ground to
the brakes, which were five feet long. It
held about a barrel of water and would
throw a good fifty-foot stream. It had ac-
tually seen service at fires before its advent
into our neighborhood. It bore the name
of "Hydrant No. 4." Charlie tells a good
joke on himself in connection with it. Its
original color was red, with gilt lines ; but
the company, thinking it would look bet-
ter blue, voted to repaint it, and the order
was forthwith given; before it was com-
pleted, however, the crew for some reason
disbanded, leaving the owner to foot the
bill and to stand, barring the cannibalism,
in the position of Gilbert's " Elderly Naval
Man," who, it will be remembered, recited
" in a singular minor key,"
" Oh, I am a cook and the captain bold,
And the mate of the Nancy Brig,
And a bo'sun tight, and a midshipmite,
And the crew of the captain's gig."
74 OLD BOSTON B'OYS
I understand that this engine is still in
good working order ; but, alas ! Pegasus,
with bound wings, stands harnessed to the
plow ! This " fiery " engine, instead of
being borne as a conqueror to subdue
flames, now plays the modest role of a gar-
den pump, and its owner may expect any
day to see it soar away to heaven.
IN the late fifties the game of cricket
tried hard to get a foothold in Boston
and several clubs were formed, among
which were the " Bostons," the " Bay States,"
"Star and Thistle," "Young Bostons,"
" Mount Vernon," and a few others. I
belonged to the " Young Bostons," which
numbered among its first eleven Collins
Warren, George MifHin, Horatio Curtis,
Phil. Mason (afterwards killed in battle),
Charlie and Jim Jackson, Frank Higgin-
son, Nathan Appleton, Frank Loring,
Harry Sturgis, and myself.
I was very enthusiastic over this game,
and if it had even held its own, should no
doubt have remained loyal to it ; but the.
Common was an impossible place for
76 OLD BOSTON BOYS
cricket, the hard baked ground making
a good wicket or bowling crease out of
the question ; and the Bostons, procuring
grounds in East Cambridge, while the re-
maining clubs gradually disbanded, I with
others drifted into baseball. From that
time until about 1885, when I joined the
Longwood Cricket Club, I hardly had a
cricket bat in my hands. I played with
the latter organization about ten years
and then retired ; at that time an honor-
ary membership was conferred upon me,
which I prize highly.
Upon the East Cambridge cricket
ground, in the year 1863, appeared for the
first time on Massachusetts soil a lad six-
teen years of age, who came on from New
York, with the St. George Cricket Club,
to play against the Bostons. He was
called " Little Georgie," and proved him-
self well able to hold a position upon this
then crack eleven, and gave undoubted
promise of the fine player and genial
P £ S
OLD BOSTON BOYS 77
friend which he afterwards turned out to
be, both upon the cricket and the baseball
field. All old-timers will at once recognize
in this rough outline the boy who in later
years ripened into the deservedly popular
and brilliant all-round athlete, George
Wright. Wright still has hosts of friends,
and as long as he played baseball was the
acknowledged "king" of the diamond.
Age being, as somebody has said, simply
a "quality of the mind," he is still a young
man and sets us all a good example by his
continued practice of outdoor sports. May
he live long to enjoy them !
Somehow American soil is not conge-
nial for cricket — more 's the pity ! as it is
one of the finest and noblest of all outdoor
sports ; it is a gentleman's game from start
to finish, and brings forth and into play
the best sporting instincts of which a man
is possessed. Philadelphia has clung to it
tenaciously and has produced players who
lose nothing in comparison with our Eng-
78 OLD BOSTON BOYS
lish cousins ; but even there it seems to
be losing its grip. It seems as if the lean
years were upon it, and its days were num-
There is no doubt that the length of
time required for a full two innings match
(frequently two days) is a serious handicap
for it in this country, and is at variance
with the American temperament. The
office boy can occasionally get a few hours
off in the afternoon to see a baseball game,
with the " grandmother's funeral " plea ;
but obviously this could not be worked two
days running, for a cricket match.
Several of the Bay State Eleven even-
tually joined the Bostons, thereby greatly
strengthening the latter. Among the best
of these were Henry Alline, Bill Joslin,
Tom Blanchard, Moses Mellen, and John
Barron. Alline was a fine thrower, a sure
catch, and a tower of strength in the field.
Joslin also was a crack fielder, and had a
way of running in to meet a batted
OLD BOSTON BOYS 79
grounder, picking it up with one hand and
throwing it to the wicket without stopping,
which always called forth applause. The
mere presence of these two men in the
field served to discourage batsmen from
attempting runs which might otherwise
have been made without difficulty. They
both afterwards played upon the Lowell
Blanchard was a fearless batter, and
seldom if ever wore leg guards or batting
gloves. This was doubtless a mistake upon
his part, as, unconsciously, part of an un-
protected batter's attention must be given
to avoiding personal injury ; whereas a man
feeling moderately secure against bodily
hurt can "wade in" to his limit. Mellen
was a fine batter, could drive with great
force, and was a good, all-round clean hit-
ter. He too played with the Lowells at
one time, catching for the second nine.
John Barron was left-handed and would
to-day be called a " South paw " batter.
8o OLD BOSTON BOYS
He bowled an exceedingly puzzling ball to
play, as most left-handed bowlers do.
I think that all of these last named were
graduates of the old Phillips School, then
located at the corner of Pinckney and An-
derson streets, — which, by the way, turned
out many good players at all kinds of
sports. Ward 6 used to vote in this old
schoolhouse, and political meetings were
sometimes held in it. It was here that I
once heard our great War Governor, John
A. Andrew, speak, not long before his
election. I did not know at the time who
John A. Andrew was, but I remember how
his clean-cut, crisp, and blood-stirring elo-
quence moved everybody to wild applause.
Once after that, during the Civil War, I
heard him again ; but this time it was a
dinner conversation between him and the
late John M. Forbes, at the latter's house
in Milton, where I and a few other young
fellows were present as friends of his son
Malcolm. I well recall how fascinating
OLD BOSTON BOYS 81
the talk was between these two brilliant
In October of i860, Gerrit S. Miller, or
" Gat " as his multitude of friends love to
call him, came on from Peterboro', N. Y.,
to enter the private Latin school of Mr.
E. S. Dixwell; he was at once hailed as a
most valuable addition to our boy world,
and has continued valuable to all of us for
forty-five years. Mr. Dixwell's school,
founded in 185 1, was located in Boylston
Place, in a house which he built specially
for it, and was recognized as the finest
private school in Boston. Boys were here
fitted for college, and any graduate who
bore Mr. Dixwell's hall-mark was suffi-
ciently guaranteed without further ques-
At the time that Miller entered this
school it had a fine football team, upon
which he at once took a prominent place.
In that same fall they played against the
Boston Public Latin School and beat them,
82 OLD BOSTON BOYS
with a team composed of Walter Hunne-
well, "Bunty" Bradford, Bill Goddard,
Charlie Rand, Jim Chadwick, Bob New-
ell, Lawrence Tucker, Charlie McBurney,
Bob Peabody, Tom Dwight, Pat Jackson,
Alfred Greenough, and three others.
In the fall of 1861 they played another
match game with the Latin School ; but
this time the latter played with a team
picked from the first and second classes.
It was a memorable game and worthy of
special mention, in that it was the most
stubbornly fought match that ever took
place upon the Common in those days, and
also the longest ever played anywhere, so
far as my knowledge goes.
I have said that the Latin School team
was composed of first and second class
boys, and this is true with but one excep-
tion. Although I belonged to the third
class, my playing was deemed sufficiently
good to warrant its being utilized upon this
occasion, as our full strength was needed
OLD BOSTON BOYS 83
to meet Dixwell's game fighters. Upon
our team there were Tom and Bill Blaikie,
Jim Bodge, Sam Frothingham and his
brother Donald, Sumner Paine, Tom Nel-
son, Ned Fenno, Jack Oviatt, Ned Clark,
and myself, while upon the other side were
Charlie McBurney and his brother Jack,
Bob Peabody, Tom D wight, John Duff,
Bob Boit, Fred Shattuck, Frank Peabody,
Gat Miller, Cliff Watson, and Bob Law-
Usually matches were decided by the
best two games out of three ; but in this
instance our opponents, reasoning that
though we averaged heavier and older boys,
they were the better trained, and might
eventually wear us down if the contest were
a long one, proposed that it should be best
three out of five ; to which luckily for us
we consented, since it resulted in their un-
doing, as will be seen.
The goals were Beacon Street Mall upon
one side, and the path leading from Flag-
84 OLD BOSTON BOYS
staff Hill to Charles Street upon the other.
There was quite a wind blowing, and
Dixwell's boys, w T inning the toss, chose
the side with the wind, thus giving us the
kick-off. In this game they started in like
young tigers and did us up in fifteen min-
utes. In the next game we woke up a bit,
but although we had the wind to help us,
it took forty minutes to land the ball past
their goal. This evened things up as far
as games went, but it could be seen at a
glance that we were being outplayed.
In the third game we managed to stand
them off five minutes longer than in the
first ; but they finally " warmed " us again,
this time requiring twenty minutes to do
the trick. Right here was where their un-
doing came in ; for if the match had been
two out of three, they would have had
us beaten then and there ; but we have all
had, I take it, more or less experience with
that short but potent " if."
We started in at once upon the fourth
jt . r
if i — >4
1 * i*
Gerrit S. Miller R. Clifford Watson
John P. Hall
James D'Wolf Lovett
OLD BOSTON BOYS 85
game, and though we again had the wind
to contend with, after a protracted struggle
of forty-five minutes we gained the coveted
goal. The match now stood two all, and
every belt was drawn up another hole ; for
the tug of war was on, and the wind hav-
ing died down, we were upon an equal
footing. The fifth and deciding game was
at once called, and I cannot do better than
to quote the late lamented Cliff Watson's
entertaining version of it forty years after-
wards at a reunion dinner (several of which
he gave at the Union Club to four of us
veterans, Gat Miller, Jim Ames, John Hall,
and myself), relating how Jim Lovett
loafed around with his hands in his pock-
ets, during the first four games, and then,
when everybody else was used up, finally
woke up and finished the game, after forty-
seven minutes, by kicking the winning
goal, thus ending the match and justifying
the selection of a third class player.
Right here let me say that the cherished
86 OLD BOSTON BOYS
memory of Cliff Watson will always be a
delight and a joy to everybody who knew
him. He was at all times loyal to the
friends of his ante-collegiate days, and no-
thing delighted him more than to gather
them around him and to fight over again
the old battles lost and won, of our boyhood
days. Vale, old friend, vale !
In this match, for two hours and forty-
seven minutes we were engaged in con-
stant action except when the ball went
out of bounds, and then it was at once
brought back and put into play again.
One game followed another in rapid suc-
cession, with no opportunity for a rest
and a rub-down between times, so that the
test was one of endurance as well as skill.
I, personally, am sadly ignorant of the
modern game of football, and will let those
wiser than I comment upon and discuss its
merits as compared with those of the old
game, open, full of stirring episodes, and
intelligible at any stage to every onlooker.
OLD BOSTON BOYS 87
I attended a Harvard-Yale game not so
many years ago, and as I sat trying to
study out what was being done in one cor-
ner of the gridiron, where both teams were
apparently welded into one solid mass
which every few seconds would sway and
heave, perhaps a foot or two, in one direc-
tion, and then, as though having changed
its mind, sway and heave back again, the
simile (a lame one, I admit), would occur
to me of the situation in a billiard match
where the skillful wielder of the cue gets
the balls " jawed " in a corner. With won-
derful delicacy of touch he plays the third
ball upon them, back and forth, an inch at
a time, click, click, back and forth, back
and forth, until, after ten or fifteen minutes
have been spent in this way, the spectator,
while fully appreciating the manipulator's
skill, yawns and frets and fidgets, and
longs to see the balls break ; when at last
this happens, he instantly resumes his in-
terest, and with kindling eye hails with
88 OLD BOSTON BOYS
pleasure the beautiful round - the - table
shots, and feels that he is now seeing
billiards. Far be it from me to attempt to
depreciate the splendid output of muscular
energy displayed in the aforesaid corner
of the gridiron ; nor do I for a moment
question the skill and strategy exercised
in the planning and execution of these
attacks ; but somehow I felt that the balls
were constantly being "jawed," and I
longed to see more round-the-table shots,
— in fact, " billiards."
And then the suits of armor, together
with the presence of the ready surgeon
and the waiting stretcher (and, for aught
I know, the undertaker), made it all savor
a little too strongly of the Roman amphi-
theatre to be compatible with what foot-
ball seems intended for, namely, a healthy
and invigorating pastime.
I remember once seeing some boy, I
forget whom, overtake and spring upon
the back of Tom Nelson, who was running
OLD BOSTON BOYS 89
with the ball ; no doubt he thought there-
by to down Tom and get the ball away
from him. Nelson, who, by the way, was
one of the most powerful men who ever
entered Harvard College, continued pla-
cidly upon his way, apparently unconscious
of the other's presence, and, when he got
ready, calmly shook the passenger from
off his back much as a mastiff might get
rid of a troublesome pup, and proceeded
to kick the ball according to original in-
On another occasion I was chasing one
of Dixwell's boys who had the ball and was
a very fast runner. Finding I could not
catch him, I made a flying leap of some
ten or twelve feet and landed between his
shoulders. The impact sent us both sprawl-
ing, but he, in falling, released the ball,
and I, who was uppermost, got it and saved
the situation. I sometimes see this gentle-
man upon the street, and wonder if he re-
members the circumstance as well as I do.
go OLD BOSTON BOYS
When chasing an opponent Billy Sar-
gent, a fine player, had a neat trick of
ranging up alongside the other man,
reaching around, grabbing hold of his far-
ther shoulder, and by a quick jerk turning
him half round, so that he suddenly found
himself " facing backwards;" the impetus
acquired by running did the rest, and nine
times out of ten his legs would get so
tangled up that he would tumble all over
himself. I know all about it, for I have
IN 1863, the Oneida Football Club
was organized and composed of mem-
bers of Mr. Dixwell's school and three
outsiders, namely, Malcolm Forbes and
John Hall from the English High, and
myself, from the Public Latin School. It
was a very strong club and played matches
repeatedly with the Boston Public Latin
School, the English High and Dorchester
High schools, beating them so easily that a
match was made with the combined forces
of the Boston Latin and English High
schools, Mac Forbes being their captain ;
but even this array could make no head-
way against us, and they did not score
once. In fact, we were never beaten, and
what is more remarkable, no combination
ever made a single goal against us.
92 OLD BOSTON BOYS
The word " goal " here used seems to
need some explanation in view of what is
now understood by that term. In the old
game there were no " touchdowns " nor
was the ground marked off by lines of any
kind; in fact, there was no "gridiron,"
nothing but straight football, — and by
straight football I mean that from the time
of the " kick-off " there was no cessation,
no " let-up " (except when the ball went out
of bounds, and then it was at once brought
back and put into play again), until one
side or the other landed the ball over any
part of the opponents' boundary line.
When this was effected, a goal was
claimed, which ended the game ; so that
the terms " goal " and " game " were syn-
onymous. The difference between guard-
ing a line the entire width of the ground
and one a few feet long between the up-
right poles of to-day's game can readily
This champion team was made up of
Arnold, E. L.
Boit, R. A.
WON BY THE ONEIDA FOOTBALL CLUB
Names of team painted on the ball
Lawrence, R. M.
Lovett, J. D'W.
Miller, G. S. (Capt.)
Peabody, F. G.
Scudder, W. S.
Watson, R. C.
Wolcott, H. F.
OLD BOSTON BOYS 93
the following players : Gat Miller, captain,
Ned Bowditch, Ned Arnold, Bob Boit, John
Hall, Frank Peabody, Winthrop Scudder,
Lawrence Tucker, " Hunty " Wolcott,
Cliff Watson, Bob Lawrence, Louis Thies,
Walter Brooks, Frank Davis, and myself.
It is needless to say that each one of the
above was a very strong player in his
position, and to particularize would be dif-
ficult after so many years ; but I can say
that on the rush line Cliff Watson, Frank
Peabody, Walter Brooks, Frank Davis,
and John Hall were tough propositions to
run up against. Watson was a strategist,
par excellence, and could extricate the ball
from more tight places than any one else
upon the team. Gat Miller was our sheet
anchor as " tender out," or " full-back " as
it is called to-day, and a tower of strength
when the ball got past the rest of the team ;
the fact I have stated above, that a goal
was never made against us, is sufficient
testimony to his reliability, steadiness, and
94 OLD BOSTON BOYS
skill in that most important position. Ar-
nold was the fleetest of foot, with Boit and
Tucker good seconds. Bowditch, Scud-
der, Lawrence, Wolcott, and Thies were
ever watchful and played into each other's
hands with skill and judgment.
Roger Wolcott, also a member of this
club, was a boy whom we all loved and
respected ; ever fair and square, high-
minded, honest and above-board ; with the
passing years these qualities deepened and
strengthened and came to be recognized
universally, until the people of Massachu-
setts gave him the highest gift in their
power and made him governor. It is not
for me to say how faithfully and wisely he
upheld and added fresh lustre to the honor
of the old Bay State. It was said of the
late Jonas Chickering, the founder of the
house of Chickering and Sons, that his
character was like his pianos, " upright,
square, and grand." Surely the same trib-
ute can truthfully be applied to the
OLD BOSTON BOYS 95
straightforward and beautiful life of Roger
In one match game Ned Arnold and one
of our opponents were both running at top
speed towards each other, intent only upon
kicking the ball, which lay about midway
between them, and apparently with that
same utter contempt for personal danger
which Farragut so forcibly expressed for
torpedoes in Mobile Harbor. The ball
was fairly struck, simultaneously, from
either side, with the result that it was
ripped asunder like a paper bag. The fact
that Ned's opponent flinched a hair and
swerved slightly was all that prevented a
bad " head on " collision. As it was, how-
ever, two surprised bodies, tumbling head-
long past each other for ten or fifteen feet
was, fortunately, the extent of the damage.
The Common was the only playground
in Boston to which we had access, and
among those who congregated there daily
for football, hockey, or what not, were
96 OLD BOSTON BOYS
Henry Cabot Lodge, William Walley,
Sam Cabot, Arthur Brooks, George Ly-
man, Charlie and Rollins Morse, George
Mifflin, Cabot Russell, Sam and Gus Brad-
street, Arthur Beebe, Henry and Joe
Fay, Billy Field, Lem Stanwood, " Ren "
Thayer, Ned Burgess, Malcolm Green-
ough, Frank Manning, Frank Nicholson,
Tom Motley, and a host of others.
It is a somewhat mournful pleasure to
look with retrospective eye, through forty
years, and see once more the familiar faces
gathering upon the old Parade Ground for
the afternoon's game of football. Well may
we marvel to-day to see ourselves again
sprinting across the grassy stretch; eyes
bright with youth and health ; muscles firm
and each joint supple and moving like
clockwork. Yes, it is undeniably a plea-
sure to us who survive, to know that we old
fellows could and did enjoy these things ;
the remembrance of them will remain with
us a joy forever. Is it indeed possible that
OLD BOSTON BOYS 97
this young fellow whom we, looking back-
wards, see bounding with the spring of an
antelope, is the gray-haired man, walking
a trifle stiffly, with whom I was chatting
What fun it was to see Arthur Beebe,
with body bent close to the ground, patting
the ball with his hands, this way and that,
steering it clear of the ravening wolves
who were pursuing and rapidly hemming
him in, until, suddenly straightening him-
self, he deftly tossed the ball over the sur-
rounding heads into the ready hands of an
alert partner, who in his turn helped it on
the way to the enemy's boundary line. Bob
Peabody and Walter Hunnewell were also
adepts in these tactics. Such players might
be likened to the torpedo boats of a fleet,
darting rapidly about and causing confu-
sion to the enemy. Battleships were typi-
fied in powerful Tom Nelson, Frank Davis,
Malcolm Forbes, Sam Bradstreet, and
others. Swift cruisers and indeed all the
98 OLD BOSTON BOYS
types of our modern vessels, except sub-
marine craft, were represented in these
Before commencing the afternoon's
games, it was the custom to place our
coats, vests, etc., in a pile upon one side of
the ground. Not unfrequently strangers
of a predatory turn of mind would be seen
showing undue curiosity about the collec-
tion of clothing, and this uncalled-for in-
terest would demand prompt attention.
Upon these occasions we usually looked to
Sam Bradstreet to take the initiative, and
he never failed us. Sam was a peace-loving
boy like the rest of us, but at the first
smell of powder he would make a bee-line
for the biggest and toughest looking of the
invaders, and, with an apparent zest which
was lovely to see, sail in, rarely failing to
bag his game and strike consternation to
the hearts of the rest of the intruders, who
would thereupon flee from the wrath to
come and leave us in peace. I know Sam
OLD BOSTON BOYS 99
will not mind my telling these tales out of
school, for we were all proud of him ; and
then, he did it all with such abounding
good nature !
Pat Jackson was very effective in taking
a " free kick," that is, with no one to inter-
fere with him. He sent the ball a long dis-
tance, and in the act of kicking used to
clear the ground with both feet.
Sam Cabot was a tough customer to run
foul of, and whoever he tackled might as
well give it up first as last, for when he set
his grip it " stayed put " until he thought
proper to release his victim.
" Lurking," known to-day as being " off
side," was considered by fair-minded boys
as an offense not to be countenanced for a
moment, even if the boy guilty of jt was
on one's own side. It was a trick very
rarely resorted to in those days, in which
a boy tried to sneak around in among
the enemy and wait for his own side to
kick the ball his way, when his chances for
ioo OLD BOSTON BOYS
getting it past the opponent's full-back
were much increased. Our law was to
" keep moving towards the ball," wherever
it might be.
Ned Burgess, who in later life became
the world renowned yacht designer, was a
very agile player and always seemed to be
in the right place. This agility he kept up
all through his too short life, as is testified
by his famous handspring upon the deck
of his boat after each victory.
The Parade Ground, and that part of
the Common between "Flagstaff" and the
smaller hill known to us as the "hollow,"
were the two football grounds. The latter
has since been filled in, and beneath the
new earth lie buried many pleasant .mem-
ories of some of our happiest boyhood
In the early afternoons, before the foot-
ball devotees had assembled, some half a
dozen of us would get up impromptu jump-
ing matches. In these contests Gat Miller
OLD BOSTON BOYS 101
and I usually took the lead. We were very
evenly matched and could cover eleven
feet six inches in one standing jump with
weights, and in three standing jumps a
shade better than thirty-four feet. The
professional jumpers of to-day will smile
at these figures ; but we were only boys of
seventeen or eighteen years of age, and
could no doubt have done better if we had
taken to it seriously.
Speaking of jumping reminds me that
so far as I have ever known, Horatio Cur-
tis and myself were the only two boys who
could vault over the Common fence. It
was not alone the height that made the
feat difficult, but the pointed iron pickets,
which presented a formidable obstacle,
owing to the danger involved, besides the
difficulty of getting a firm hold upon them.
Later, when in Harvard College, Curtis
was a crack oarsman and pulled stroke for
the 1864 'Varsity crew.
The ability to vault this fence served
ioa OLD BOSTON BOYS
me a good turn one afternoon when some
home-coming regiment was encamped upon
the Parade Ground, and gained for me the
coveted admission inside the lines. I was
standing upon Charles Street, outside the
fence, and the imperturbable policeman,
to whom I had made several touching ap-
peals to be allowed to pass within the lines,
remained obdurate. A final effort, how-
ever, on my part, elicited from him the
information that he had received " sthrict
ordthers to prevint anywan from climbin'
the fince, but," he added with withering
sarcasm, " if you can squaze yoursilf through
the bars or fly over thim, come on in and
divil a word '11 I say." The last word was
still vibrating under his moustache when
I had hold of the pickets, and before he
could wink landed in front of him. He
looked at me for a moment in amazement,
and then, " Howly Moses ! me by, that
was a grand le'p, but," reflectively, " I hope
no more of thim out there has wings like
Drawn, at the age of 14, by Edwm 11. lilaslineld
OLD BOSTON BOYS 103
that, or I'll lose me job!" (I stood close
beside the old fence the other day, at the
same spot, and it is my firm conviction
that it has grown at least two feet since I
was a boy.)
One afternoon, while some of us were
throwing a ball, striving to carom on the
golden one which tipped the flagstaff on
the big hill, it got lodged upon the cradle,
perhaps fifty or sixty feet from the ground,
whereupon John Hall coolly went to work
in a business-like way and with the help
of the halliards mounted to the ball's rest-
ing place and rescued it, amidst the cheers
of those looking on. I often afterwards
looked at the old flagstaff and wondered
how he ever managed to get up there and
how many of the rest of us could have
accomplished the feat without its having
proved to be a case of " from the cradle to
Among our contemporaries were, of
course, many boys who, lacking the inch-
104 OLD BOSTON BOYS
nation to join in the rough sports, sought
recreation through gentler channels.
Among friends of this class I recall the
names of many who have achieved fame
and won recognition as being leaders in
their chosen pursuits.
Prominent among them stands the name
of Edwin Howland Blashfield, an artist of
international reputation, who attended the
Latin School during the Civil War and
who won the admiration of his school-
mates as well as stirred their patriotism by
producing innumerable charming little war
sketches which he distributed among the
boys with reckless generosity.
One of his classmates of that period
writes of him as follows : " My wonder
at Blashfleld's achievements in drawing in
the old Latin School days is even now a
very distinct recollection.
" I can see as clearly as if it were yester-
day his vividly earnest and intellectual face
bent over his drawing, and used to marvel
Drawn, at the age of 14, by Edwin II. Blashfield
OLD BOSTON BOYS 105
daily at recess at the lifelike sketches of
war scenes which this kindly magician
turned out to feed the rather truculent
patriotism of his fourteen-year-old class-
mates. The only examples that I have
been able to get were of the same period,
and inspired by the ever-present Civil War,
but were fancy sketches of Napoleonic
conflicts. They are very remarkable for a
boy of fourteen."
STEWART'S Gymnasium was one
of Boston's institutions and flour-
ished in the fifties. Stewart was a
colored man and had been a clever boxer
in his day, but a crippled hand spoiled
his effectiveness as a fighter. Neverthe-
less, he still donned the gloves and gave
lessons. The gymnasium was in old Boyl-
ston Hall, and possessed great attractions.
Here Francis Gardner, Master of the
Boston Latin School, used to take almost
daily exercise. I can see him, powerful
and active as a cat, in undershirt and
duck trousers, performing feats upon the
horizontal bar, parallel bars, and vaulting
horse, easily out doing much younger men,
perhaps with not much grace, but with a
OLD BOSTON BOYS 107
splendid rugged vigor which it was a plea-
sure to see.
There was a big five-hundred-pound
weight near the door which seemed to stand
there for the purpose of enticing unwary
patrons to come and burst a blood-vessel
in vain attempts to lift it from the floor.
This, although often tugged and strained
at, was seldom raised.
Some dissatisfaction with the manage-
ment of the gymnasium having arisen, a
half-dozen of the most prominent gymnasts,
among whom were Henry K. Bushnell,
John C. Doldt, and " Tread " Kimball, with-
drew and were instrumental in establishing
a new and finely equipped gymnasium in
Eliot Hall, upon the corner of Eliot and
Tremont streets. It was called the Tre-
mont Gymnasium and was owned by Mr.
George H. Bacon. It was formally opened
on September 1, 1859, with John C. Doldt
as manager and instructor. It continued
to flourish until 1872, when it was bought,
108 OLD BOSTON BOYS
together with all its apparatus, by the
Young Men's Christian Association.
It was here that many of the boys pre-
viously mentioned in this volume obtained
their first lessons in physical culture, which
later on stood some of those who went to
college in good stead, and no doubt was of
material assistance in gaining for them a
seat in the 'Varsity boat or a place upon
the ball team. The janitor of this gymna-
sium was kindly old John Coulighan, whom
we all pleasantly remember. The best per-
formers were Henry K. Bushnelland John
Doldt, who were both gymnasts of a high
order ; indeed, Bushnell's giant swing and
his front and back horizontals are not sur-
passed by any one upon the stage to-day.
Doldt was superb in the flying rings, and
could reach the high ceiling in three or four
swings. His one arm back horizontal is
well remembered also by all who ever saw
it. The late Dr. Rimmer considered Bush-
nell's back to be the best developed he
Doldt's one-arm hold
Kendrick's arm development
Bushnell's half-arm hold
Bushnell's back development
A GROUP OF GYMNASTS
OLD BOSTON BOYS 109
had ever seen, and made repeated sketches
Oliver Coe was a fine athlete, and his
pectoral muscles were something wonder-
ful. Kimball was good, too, as were also
John Alden and John Parker, the latter
afterwards developing into a fine oarsman.
Butts was the strong man of the gymna-
sium, and was truly Herculean. He used
to swing an Indian club nearly as big and
heavy as himself. Sam Austin's " pull up "
with one arm was the fairest and squarest
possible. His one hundred and eighty
pounds, hanging from his fully extended
arm, would slowly start, with no suggestion
of a jerk, and with no apparent effort rise
until his chin was well above his hand. I
forget how many times he could do this
feat. He did it with either arm alike.
Then there were Alfred and Henry Whit-
man (both fine oarsmen), Otis Howland,
Everett Julio, H. P. Plummer, George
Goss, George Procter, Billy Fisk, Mort
no OLD BOSTON BOYS
Kennedy, Doctor Codman, Lee Streeter,
Billy Spring, Dan Crowley, Harry Bryant,
Charles Dilloway, the Snow brothers,
Charles French, John Shea, Tom Kendrick,
and many more. Nearly all of these were
older than we were and shone as stars at
Doldt afterwards became a professional
athlete, and, with George Mansfield as
partner, traveled with various companies.
He was universally liked, being quiet,
gentlemanly, and unassuming. In later
life he was instructor in a Providence,
R. I., gymnasium, and died not many
years ago. The genial Joe Mudge suc-
ceeded him as instructor. Doldt was also
a good boxer, and, although somewhat
short of stature and reach, " got there "
just the same. He taught several of us
the " manly art."
I suppose nearly all who went there re-
member Jim Hill, who also taught boxing.
He was a powerfully built man, and was a
OLD BOSTON BOYS in
policeman upon the Fort Hill beat, — then
about the toughest part of the city. He
was inclined to be a bit boastful of what he
could do with the gloves, and one day some
of us got him to have a friendly bout with
John Hall, one of the Oneida football team.
Now John, although but a lad of about
eighteen, was the best natural boxer I have
ever seen, and in later years, ripened by
practice with the best amateurs and such
professionals as Godfrey and others, was
undoubtedly as good as any, if not the best,
amateur boxer in Boston. He never knew
the word fear, no matter who faced him.
As I have said, he was only a lad at this
time, while Hill was a man, and a good one
at that ; but John was possessed of a few
points which Hill lacked, — a long reach,
great hitting power, and a head that never
got rattled. The consequence was that
he "landed" at will, and Hill was much
crestfallen. The whole affair was, how-
ever, perfectly friendly on both sides, and
ii2 OLD BOSTON BOYS
the promoters of the little scheme were
delighted at John's victory.
Poor Jim Hill's end was a sad one. In
one of his many rough experiences with
the Fort Hill toughs, he was so hard
pressed that he had recourse to his revolver
and had the misfortune to shoot an inno-
cent bystander, for which accident he was
dismissed from the force. He never re-
covered from the blow, took to drink, and
died a complete wreck.
Ned Fenno was another fine boxer, and
made a name for himself while at Harvard.
Malcolm Forbes was a splendid exponent
of the art, being a very quick and powerful
hitter. Joe Fay, too, was among the best,
as well as being a noted oarsman. In 1869
he pulled bow in the Harvard international
crew that rowed Oxford on the Thames. 1
But the sport has changed since the
days of which I write, and the tactics and
present mode of boxing would render it
extremely doubtful if the straight-from-the-
1 See Appendix, p. 227.
J 2 s
in >> •
1 1 rt O
1 l . / -^
' "*: S
m b/3 .
1 -c ^
H 5 .
-^ . E
K <■ 03
OLD BOSTON BOYS 113
shoulder hitting of a man like John C.
Heenan or Tom Sayers would prevail to-
day against the shifty, swinging blows,
half hooks, vicious jabs, lightning-like at-
tacks and retreats of such men, for in-
stance, as Britt, " Battling " Nelson, and a
score of others, to say nothing of Fitzsim-
mons, who in his prime could no doubt
have put the finish to any of the old fight-
ers of the forties, fifties, or sixties in less
than fifteen rounds ; whereas we read of
old-time battles frequently lasting over
one hundred rounds, both in this country
and in England. The longest battle upon
record consisted of two hundred and
seventy-six rounds !
THE Tremont Gymnasium was
often visited by the Hanlon Bro-
thers when performing in Bos-
ton, and William, the imitator of the
French Leotard in the great triple trapeze
act which Hanlon called by the wonderful
name " Zampillaerostation," was looked
upon by us as more than an ordinary mor-
Tom Hanlon was the most powerful of
the brothers and was truly a wonder in his
line of business. His skill as a gymnast is
well shown by the following example. He
dropped into the office of the gymnasium
one afternoon and Doldt told him that he
had just received a new horizontal bar
and added, " Come out, Tom, and see what
OLD BOSTON BOYS 115
you think of it," and they accordingly went
into the hall to inspect it.
Hanlon, who by the way, had not re-
moved his overcoat, jumped up, caught
hold and tested it with his weight several
times and said it had a good spring and
was a fine bar. He then grasped it again,
with his palms towards him, and gently
and apparently with no exertion drew him-
self up until his arms were at full length
above the bar ; the marvel of this feat ly-
ing in the fact that his full weight during
the greater part of the time occupied in its
execution was supported entirely by his
There was an Englishman who used to
attend the gymnasium for a while, very
strong in the wrists, with a strange symbol
tattoed upon his upper arm. He one day
explained to us, in reply to questioning,
that he had hunted big game in Africa;
belonged to a hunting club there and that
a certain mark was put upon each member
n6 OLD BOSTON BOYS
as a means of identification in case of
death in the jungle. It may be supposed
that this did not tend to diminish our in-
terest in him, and I have often wondered
if he ever returned to Africa, and was
finally identified by the very mark upon
which we had gazed.
Dr. Winship, whom many will remem-
ber as a wonderful lifter of heavy weights
with a shoulder harness, opened a gymna-
sium on Washington Street, next door to
the Boston Theatre, which, after the Tre-
mont Gymnasium had closed its doors,
several of us attended.
Dr. Winship seemed to take a fancy to
me, perhaps because I could beat him at
vaulting and taught him a few little tricks
which he had never seen.
He was one of the very few men who
could pull himself up to his chin by one
little finger. It is a wonderful feat, and the
record is six times in succession. He could
do it, however, but once, and had to do it
Julio Taylor Bushnell Heard
Kimball Coe Mudge
Roberts Streeter Unknown Kendrick Dean
Spring Bacon Plummer Dr. Codman
GYMNASTS AT TREMONT GYMNASIUM
OLD BOSTON BOYS 117
every day, as a skip of a day made it
harder to do next time.
When his little finger, hooked on to a
strap, commenced to stretch and straighten
with his dead weight upon it, it always
seehied as if the tendons must give way ;
but he did it without much apparent effort.
He carried the heavy weight system,
however, to extremes, and died a compar-
atively young man. As we all know now,
this system of exercising is dead wrong,
and will probably never again come into
vogue, except with professional strong
men, or with those working for some par-
ticular record in that line.
Dr. Winship invented a dumb-bell which
could be graduated from twenty pounds up
to one hundred and four, one of which I
owned for years.
During these days the Civil War was in
full swing, and although boys' sports, to-
gether with the various amusements of the
day, went on much as usual, still there was
n8 OLD BOSTON BOYS
a minor chord running through it all, which
would not down until the glorious tidings
came from Appomattox.
The Common presented scenes which
will never be repeated, thank God ! Here
were encamped regiments passing through
Boston en route for the front, and it was
a joy, which still comes back with a thrill,
to get through the lines, which I always
did, and mingle with the soldiers, collect
six or eight canteens at a time, take them
to the drinking fountain at the corner of
Charles and Beacon streets, and fill them
for their owners.
The famous Ellsworth Zouaves gave
an exhibition here one afternoon of their
wonderful lightning drill, and a short time
afterwards came the news of Ellsworth's
tragic death in Alexandria, while in the act t
of lowering a Confederate flag.
At another time two gigantic soldiers in
a Maine regiment gave what they called
the " bear dance." It was irresistibly funny
OLD BOSTON BOYS 119
to see these big fellows drop upon all fours
and approach each other, with growls and
grotesque antics, until, rising upon their
hind legs, they embraced in the death hug
and finally rolled over and over, each well-
Later on, however, the scene was
changed, and instead of the outgoing, full
regiments leaving us amid cheers, waving
handkerchiefs, and stirring military music,
behold the home-coming of the veteran
remnants of the same, with stern, bronzed
faces and carrying the same dear old flags,
some tattered into ribbons, with here and
there but a shattered staff where one had
hung, but borne more proudly because of
their having been consecrated by heroes'
blood in defense of the Union.
Upon these occasions the cheers would
again roll forth, but with quavers and sobs
in them; and eyes were filled with tears
as the thinned ranks filed past.
It was a wonderful time for an American
120 OLD BOSTON BOYS
boy in a Northern city, far removed from
the scenes of actual carnage, to have lived
through. May it be the last !
Recruiting tents were erected on the
Common ; one in particular I remember
upon the big hill, where crowds listened
to ringing speeches made by any one who
felt moved by the spirit to do so. Many
spoke who had just returned from the
front, and enlistments usually followed
such speakers in rapid succession; one
young fellow, a little the worse for wear,
declared that he 'd enlist if he were a " para-
lyzed corpse," amid cheers and shouts of
laughter. Oh, yes, there was lots of fun
mingled with it, too.
One man from the front, while exhort-
ing others to enlist, mentioned the fact
that he had been on the fighting line and
had been wounded, but that he didn't
mind little things like that and was going
back for more. Some one in the crowd
sang out, " Where 's your wound ? " where-
OLD BOSTON BOYS 121
upon he retorted, " Come inside the tent,
dubious Thomas, and I '11 show it to you ! "
The crowd laughed at his doubtful ad-
jective, and he continued his exhortation
without further interruption.
Among our own comrades who died
that the old Flag might live, three names
stand out prominently in my memory:
" Hunty " Wolcott, brother of our late gov-
ernor, and Will Freeman, who were both
stricken with disease and were sent home
invalided, but to die; and Cabot Russell,
who, though of quiet and modest bearing,
which made him seem better fitted for
peace than for war, was nevertheless made
of the same heroic stuff as were Stevenson,
Shaw, Bartlett, Cushing, Merriam, and a
host of others. Russell fell in the gallant
charge upon Fort Wagner. Aye, hats off,
boys, to such names as these !
Any boy who saw a military funeral in
those days will never forget it. The scene
comes back to me of the funeral proces-
122 OLD BOSTON BOYS
sion of Colonel Fletcher Webster, of the
The band, with muffled drums, was play-
ing the "Dead March" in "Saul;" the
coloners horse, with trappings, was led by
his colored servant; the flag, furled, was
draped with black ; and the slow tread of
the soldiers, with reversed arms, was all
inexpressibly pathetic, and I crept into a
doorway and silently wept.
Many evenings were spent by hundreds
of families in scraping lint for the hospit-
als — " lint bees " they might be called, as
friends were invited to help, refreshments
were served, etc. At these meetings mit-
tens for the soldiers were also made with
a place for the forefinger, thus allowing it
freedom in pulling the trigger.
The Public Latin School presented a
flag to Company D of the Twelfth Massa-
chusetts, which was commanded by gallant
Captain Nathaniel B. Shurtleff, Jr., himself
an old Latin School boy, and while this
OLD BOSTON BOYS 123
regiment was stationed at Fort Warren
we pupils went down to attend the presen-
tation. The speech was made by Arthur
Brooks, brother of the late Bishop Brooks,
and we had been drilled in singing a song
for the occasion, the words of which were
composed by a son of Mr. Capen, after-
wards principal of the Latin School. They
went to the tune of " Yankee Doodle," and
the first few lines, which are all I can
recall, ran as follows : —
" Still first, as long and long ago,
Let Massachusetts muster,
Give her the post right next the foe ;
Be sure that you can trust her."
To those of us who had near relatives
in the army, the war seemed of course a
much sterner reality than to those who
My brother enlisted twice, and during
his absence each day's news from the front
seemed to have, as it were, some family
124 OLD BOSTON BOYS
connection about it, or direct, personal
True it is that times of peace can only
be appreciated at their full value by those
who know, by personal experience, what a
long, heart-breaking war means.
IT seems to be the natural instinct of a
boy, as soon as he finds the use of his
arms, to want to " bat " something, ac-
companied by the desire to see the object
thus batted give some evidence of having
been affected by it, either in the exclama-
tion of Nurse, as he lands his dimpled
boxing glove upon her physiognomy, or,
if the object be an inanimate one, to see
it recoil before his prowess. This latter
is naturally a ball of some kind, and is pa-
tiently brought back that he may repeat
the operation ad infinitum.
As soon as he can toddle alone he pur-
sues and kicks the ball from place to place,
or strikes it with his hand, stick, or what
not, thus developing the incipient stages
126 OLD BOSTON BOYS
of football or baseball, until his efforts grad-
ually increasing through the coming years,
finally culminate upon the " gridiron " or
" diamond." This natural affinity between
bat and ball is as old as the human race.
The affinity between " bats " of a differ-
ent nature and "high balls" will not be
touched upon, though it might be noted
that this relaxation also sometimes culmi-
nates in the gridiron, the bars, however,
assuming a perpendicular, instead of a
Games in which a ball was used are of
very ancient origin, as we know ; but when,
where, and by whom first played is beyond
our ken. Homer, in the Odyssey, mentions
the Phaeacian damsels as playing ball to
the sound of music ; and later, Shakespeare
speaks of the games of " base " and " round-
ers." This latter some authorities claim to
be a direct ancestor of our present game
of baseball, while others differ from this
opinion. Mr. A. G. Spaulding disclaims
OLD BOSTON BOYS 127
the rounders ancestry, and thinks that the
game as now played was evolved from what
was known as " two old cats, three old
That veteran and " father " of our na-
tional game, Mr. Henry Chadwick, in a
treatise upon the subject, published in
1868, holds to the opinion that "rounders"
was changed to "town ball," and that this
later on was again changed into our old
Massachusetts game, the change consist-
ing mainly in the fact that the ball was
increased in size and weight and thrown
to the batter instead of being pitched or
tossed ; and that this latter was in turn
converted into the " New York " or Na-
tional game as we know it to-day.
In view of the fact that when we could
not get hands enough for the Massachu-
setts game we used to content ourselves
with two, three, or four old cats, as the case
might be, and counted the latter as merely
a makeshift instead of a distinct game by
128 OLD BOSTON BOYS
itself, it seems to me that each of them
contributed something towards the game
as played to-day, instead of either one be-
ing the direct parent of it.
However, whatever the origin of our
National game may have been, it is to-day
a good, healthy recreation, calling for re-
cruits who must be sound mentally and
physically, and therefore a game making
for the good of our young men, and, to-
gether with other outdoor sports sprung up
since its adoption, it has effectually freed
us Americans from the reproach that used
to be cast upon us by our English relatives,
of being a nation given only to seeking the
Moreover, the game has come to stay,
and while, doubtless, still capable of many
improvements, it will increase in popularity
as time goes on, rather than fall off, as
cricket has, in this country.
The first regularly organized club to
play the Massachusetts game in New
OLD BOSTON BOYS 129
England was the " Olympics " of Boston,
in 1854. In 1855 the " Elm Trees " took
root, and in 1857 the "Green Mountains"
and " Hancocks " saw the light.
The last named was a junior club for
which Sam Bradstreet caught and I threw.
We played many matches with other ju-
nior clubs from the suburbs but were never
defeated. Bradstreet was a fine catcher
and could almost pick a ball off the striker's
bat. I used to throw a swift ball about
where he signaled for it, and the battery
was counted a good one. The ball had a
small buckshot in its centre and was cov-
ered with buckskin or chamois leather.
Instead of throwing to the baseman, to
cut off a runner, as is now done, the ball
was thrown directly at the runner himself :
a moving object, however, is not so easy to
hit and many misses were made as well as
bull's-eyes. I remember once seeing Harry
Forbush of the Olympics in a hard-fought
game with a Holliston club, which was one
i 3 o OLD BOSTON BOYS
of the best in the State, following up a base
runner, but a little afraid to throw at him
for fear of a miss, the man being ready
to " duck at the flash," so he feinted and
the man dropped like lightning upon his
stomach, whereupon Harry, who was now
nearly over him, grinned with triumph and
let him have it as tight as he could throw.
The fellow squirmed a little, but nothing
could be said. The close rivalry between
the clubs no doubt put a little unnecessary
ginger into Forbush's arm ; but that was
Four stout stakes driven into the ground,
leaving about five feet out, were used as
bases. In one of the Hancocks* games a
runner was playing well off the first base
and I, instead of throwing to Brads treet,
changed the direction a little and struck
the unsuspecting runner full in the stom-
ach. It did not hurt him much, but the
surprise and dismay upon his face at thus
suddenly finding himself put out caused
OLD BOSTON BOYS 131
much laughter. It was a risky shot, but
the game was a close one and I took the
Fred Nazro, Bert Bradish, Jack Oviatt,
and Gus Bradstreet also played on this
As there were no foul balls in this game,
some of the players had a knack of short-
ening up their bat, — that is, grasping it
near the middle, — and by a quick turn of
the wrist striking the ball, as it passed
them, in the same direction in which it
was thrown, thus avoiding the fielders and
giving the striker a good start on his bases.
This mode of striking, however, led to lots
of trouble for the catcher, who sometimes
got a bad blow from the bat as it was swung
back; and it moreover led to bad blood
between rival teams, as there is no doubt
that catchers were sometimes intentionally
disabled in this way.
A purse was usually played for by the
senior clubs, which naturally encouraged
i 3 2 OLD BOSTON BOYS
any sharp practice of this kind. This mode
of back striking was carried so far that bats
not more than twelve or fifteen inches long
and with a flat surface were used, and in-
stead of making any attempt to strike with
it, this bat was merely held at a sharp an-
gle and the ball allowed to glance off it,
over the catcher's head.
The back of a hairbrush would have
served this kind of batter's purpose equally
well, and afterwards might and should have
been vigorously applied to him, in the good
TO go back a little way, let me say,
not as a matter of interest to any-
body, but simply as a means of
connecting the events in the career of a
mature ball player with the circumstances
which led up to them, that my first attempts
at this game were made with the leg of a
chair and a quilted ball which my father
made for me.
The ready-made ball of those days, for
sale, was either a mushy, pulpy-feeling
thing, with a soft cotton string quilting
over it which wore out in a few days ; or
else a rubber one, solid or hollow, as one
preferred ; but all equally unfit for batting
The balls which my father taught me to
134 OLD BOSTON BOYS
make were of tightly wound yarn, with a
bit of rubber at the core, quilted with good,
tough twine, and would last a long time ;
and when needed new jackets could be
put upon them.
Thus equipped I used to whack the ball
about in my back yard, until I felt the
need of a real bat; but bats could not be
bought then as they are now — hundreds
to choose from, of all shapes and sizes.
Clubs had them made to order, and
boys had to do likewise or make them
themselves. There were no shops carry-
ing "athletic goods," and bats were not
often enough called for to be carried in
stock by anybody.
This being the case, my father again
came to the rescue, as he always did, God
bless him ! and made me a little bat of
black walnut. I can see it now ; it had a
round handle for about a foot and was then
gradually widened out into two flat sides,
being perhaps an inch and a half thick. I
OLD BOSTON BOYS 135
describe it thus minutely simply because I
can see it so plainly and thought so much
He took me onto the Common with
him one afternoon to see how it would
work and it was a great success. Once a
boy stole it from me, and I ran after him,
crying, until a man rescued it and made me
Like all the other boys I saw, I used to
toss up the ball and then swing the bat
around my head, describing a great circle,
and perhaps connect with the former once
in five or six times.
I puzzled my head trying to find a bet-
ter way to do this and finally hit upon the
plan of drawing the bat back in a straight
line, instead of round in a circle, and by
this method I could soon strike the ball
nearly every time.
I once saw Charlie Troupe bat a solid
rubber " peach " ball, as they were called,
straight up into the air, w T here it went so
136 OLD BOSTON BOYS
high that I could scarcely believe my eyes.
Several of us who saw him do it laughed
in a silly sort of wonder at the length of
time it remained up there. It really was a
most remarkable stroke and I have never
seen a ball knocked so " sky high " since.
I have sometimes thought that it might
prove rather interesting to time balls
knocked up in this way, in order to test a
batter's powers in this direction.
Well, the little black walnut bat at last
went the way of all bats, and broke ; but
by this time I had outgrown it and wanted
one like the others in use, — that is, round
and not square, — so I got a carpenter to
make me one out of spruce, according to
my directions; it was good enough for a
boy of my age, and stood all the strength
that I could put into it.
At this time a lot of the mechanics, fire-
men, etc., of the West End occasionally used
to meet on the Common for a game among
themselves, and would let me take a hand ;
OLD BOSTON BOYS 137
but I could not strike a thrown ball with
any great success and so they would toss
them to " young Jimmy," as they called
me. I did not, however, distinguish myself
in spite of this leniency, and they would
laugh to see me cut stripes in the atmos-
phere. I suppose that I did sometimes
make a hit, but I can't recall one. How-
ever, I enjoyed the fun and kept at it and
a little later got in with some older boys
who, though not a regularly organized
club, used to congregate almost every day,
choose sides, and take in any boy who
might want to play, if the sides were not
With these boys I was put upon my
mettle and improved rapidly. I was natu-
rally a good thrower for a short distance,
and my " batting eye " grew to be pretty
accurate, so that I soon came to be chosen
among the first.
The mode of choosing sides was about
as follows : one of the two captains would
138 OLD BOSTON BOYS
sharply toss a bat, held in a perpendicular
position, to the other, who would catch it
wherever he could. The one who tossed
it would then place one of his hands above
and touching that of the other, and so on,
alternately, until the knob on the end was
reached, when the last one would endeavor,
by digging his thumb and ringer nails
down inside the other's grip, to get such a
hold upon it as would enable him to swing
the bat three times around his head. Fail-
ing to do this, the other had his first choice
of the players for his side, and then the
choosing proceeded alternately and rapidly.
The reader will, no doubt, wonder why
a coin was not " flipped " up and the first
choice decided in a jiffy. Well, it was a
boy's way of deciding ; and it afforded
some sort of fun, mingled with a mild ex-
citement, as the two neared the top of the
bat, to watch the last one try to get a hold
upon the rounded knob and with clenched
teeth swing the bat around his head.
OLD BOSTON BOYS 139
Boys are queer animals, anyway. The
proverbial old maid is not a circumstance
to him as I knew him fifty years ago. He
had to do things in just such a way and at
just such a time. Each game had its spe-
cially appointed season. Kite flying was
not allowed to infringe upon top spinning,
nor could the latter be continued when
marbles came on deck, and so on.
Old maid, indeed !
IN 1857 the Hancock Club was started,
as I have related ; and in that same
year the New York game got the
thin edge of its wedge into New England.
Mr. E. G. Saltzman, a member of the
Gotham Club of New York, for which he
played second base, came to Boston in this
year, and feeling the lack of his favorite
pastime, set to work to form a club and
teach the members the mysteries of this
latest form of the game. It was uphill
work, however, as the Massachusetts game
was in full blast, and new-fangled ideas
were looked upon with that coy conserva-
tism which came Over from England and
landed upon a Rock down Plymouth way
some years previously.
OLD BOSTON BOYS 141
Mr. Saltzman, however, was a " stayer,"
and he had a good article ; the consequence
being that the Tri-Mountain Club was
formed that fall and had the honor of be-
ing the first organization in New England
under the new rules.
The next city to follow the Tri-Moun-
tain's lead was Portland, Maine, where
the Portland Club was formed in 1858
and in the fall of that same year visited
Boston to try its newly fledged strength
against its yearling rival. This of course
was the first match ever played in New
England under the new rules, and took
place on the Common.
The Portlands won by the score of 47
to 42. This match was attended by many
ball players, local and otherwise, who were
curious to see what the new thing was like,
and who looked on with a dignified toler-
ation befitting those who " guessed " that
the old game was good enough for them.
But some who came to scoff remained
142 OLD BOSTON BOYS
to pray. It was evident that this new type
was "catching" and that many present
were in that condition when they are said
to " take things." There were points about
the new game which appealed to them.
The pitching, instead of swift throwing,
looked easy to hit, and the pitcher stood
off so far, and then there was no danger
of getting plugged with the ball while run-
ning bases ; and the ball was so lively and
could be batted so far ! Yes, decidedly,
there were points about this new game
which pleased many who had never played
ball before, and who thought that they
would like to try it ; so the reports spread
until they reached Springfield, and there,
the next spring, 1858, the Pioneer Club
was formed, and also the Atwater of
Westfield, the Nonotuck and Union of
Northampton, as well as two or three
others. The first-mentioned two were the
leading clubs in Western Massachusetts,
and, later on, played some fine games.
OLD BOSTON BOYS 143
In 1859 the Bowdoin Club was formed
in Boston with the intention of playing
ball in the good old Massachusetts way;
but, just for the fun of the thing, they tried
the new rules to see how they worked and,
behold! the whole nine proved to be in
the receptive condition above alluded to,
and were promptly infected with the new
germ, so that the New York game was
adopted forthwith, and their conversion
was of great assistance to the cause, as
they were one of the leading clubs in New
England until 1863, when they disbanded.
They played but one game in this, their
first season, which was with the Tri-
Mountains, beating them 32 to 26.
As it will interest some of the old-timers
to know who played in this game, the
names are herewith given : The Bowdoin
Club was John Lowell, catcher; Archibald,
pitcher ; Albert Crosby, first base ; Sawyer,
second base ; Crowley, third base ; Harry
Gill, short-stop; Gardner, right field;
144 OLD BOSTON BOYS
Leach, centre field ; and Harry Forbush,
Tri-Mountains : Ben Guild, catcher ;
Saltzman, pitcher ; Dinsmore, first base ;
Coe, second base ; Bigelow, third base ;
Arnold, short-stop; Chandler, right field;
Fletcher, left field ; Lyons, centre field.
This is not intended in any way to be
a history of baseball in New England; I
am only striving to give some of the more
salient features of its progress amongst us
which came under my own observation,
and to relate a few of my own personal
experiences and those of the club with
which I played. Consequently, the Lowell
Club will of necessity stand out promi-
nently in the following pages, which fact
I trust will be pardoned by the reader.
The return game between the Tri-
Mountains and Bowdoins was played on
the Common September 22, i860, when
the latter again won, 36 to 19.
In 1 86 1 the Civil War cloud burst and
OLD BOSTON BOYS 145
many baseball plans were disarranged
thereby, some of the players enlisting upon
the first call for troops; and during the
war's progress upwards of fifty members
of Boston clubs were to be found in Uncle
Before this time many of us boys had
been allowed occasionally to take a hand
in the Tri-Mountains' or Bowdoins' games,
and were found to be ready converts to
the new style of playing, our previous
training, of course, proving of great ser-
vice to us.
Our aptness was quickly recognized by
the seniors, and one evening Mr. Horace
Chandler, one of the Bowdoins, and son of
the late Hon. Peleg W. Chandler, called
at my house and said that he did so at the
request of John Lowell, who, with himself
and others, thought it most desirable that
a junior club be formed, as the material
promised well, etc., etc.
The result was that I and several others
146 OLD BOSTON BOYS
went at once to work and procured enough
names without any difficulty. In fact, no-
body, as far as I can remember, refused.
We held the first meeting at John A.
Lowell's office, then on the corner of Sum-
mer and Washington streets, over Shreve,
Crump & Low's jewelry store, and elected
the following officers : President, George G.
Richards; Vice-President, Samuel Brad-
street, Jr.; Secretary, George S. B. Sulli-
van ; Treasurer, William French ; Direc-
tors, Marsh P. Stafford, George B. Wilder,
and J. D'W. Lovett.
The club was named in honor of Mr.
Lowell, then President of the Bowdoins,
and who had most kindly encouraged us
in every way. The Bowdoins gave us a
good send-off by voting us a full set of
implements, and we went at it with a will.
This was in March, i86i,and by the next
October we tried our wings in a game
with the Medford Club at Medford. There
was a good-sized crowd to see our maiden
OLD BOSTON BOYS 147
effort, as we had lots of friends who anti-
cipated for us a fair chance to win from
the senior club.
The result was entirely satisfactory to
us, we winning, 17 to 10; and as some of
our old friends may like to know what
was said of us in our first match, I take
the liberty of quoting from the report as
it appeared in the paper next day.
" On the 1 6th inst. a very exciting match
of baseball between the Lowell Club of
Boston and the Medford Club of Medford
was played on the grounds of the latter.
This being the debut of the Lowells
(which, by the way, is a junior club), called
out quite a concourse of the friends of
both parties. Miller's pitching on the
Lowell side was swift and to the mark, and
the way he generaled the game does good
credit to himself and his club. Wilder, as
catcher, was very effective and marked his
play by some difficult catches of foul balls ;
one in particular, a left-hand catch on the
148 OLD BOSTON BOYS
fly. Lovett's short was brilliant through-
out, he not missing a single stop or throw
to the bases, and his backing up of the
bases was a specimen of good fielding.
Adams held with vice-like grip every ball
that was passed to him. Joslin's second
was well attended to, as was also the third.
In the outfield some tall fielding was done
by Hawes and Richards; Fuller, as is
quite unusual, not having anything to do,
owing to Miller's swift pitching.
"Of the Medfords, Rapp, as short, al-
though the position was new to him, did
good execution ; Clark pitched in a
steady manner and watched the bases
well. Banker 1 is a cool player and his
score of no outs and three runs looked
well for his side. Burbank played his sec-
ond in good shape, but was very unfortu-
nate at the bat. Another season the senior
clubs will have to look out for their laurels,
1 He afterwards played first base upon the Class of
'66 team at Harvard.
OLD BOSTON BOYS 149
for such fielding as was shown by the
Lowells seldom occurs."
Thus were we fairly launched upon a
career which continued for nearly twelve
In looking back over this period it seems
evident to me that it would have been for
the best interests of the club to have dis-
banded either in the spring or fall of 1869,
when it was at its best ; for, although we
afterwards won games occasionally, still, as
I shall later on endeavor to show, for good
and sufficient reasons and through no fault
of ours, '70, '71, and '72 were regrettable
years to the original members and their
friends, and would much better have been
forestalled by non-existence of the club.
The season of 1862 opened with bright
prospects for us, and in June we played
our second match, this time with the Bow-
doins, who beat us 23 to 14.
On July 10 the Excelsiors of New York
150 OLD BOSTON BOYS
arrived in Boston. They were in their
prime at this time, and, being the first
New York club to visit Boston, created
much excitement Their nine consisted of
Young, Russell, Pearsall, Polhemus, Brain-
ard, Flanley, Creighton, Cook, and Leg-
gett. Ball players from all parts of New
England came to see them play, and our
eyes were opened to many things.
They beat the Bowdoins 41 to 1 5. Much
good-natured chaff was passed back and
forth between John Lowell and Joe Leg-
gett in this game, which made fun for every-
body. Once when the latter was at the bat,
he motioned to John, who was then playing
centre field, to go back a little further;
John backed off about ten feet, upon which
Leggett sung out, "A little further, still,
John," and the latter, laughing, backed
away another ten feet, whereupon Leggett
struck a ball and sent it flying over John's
head for a home run, amidst shouts of
laughter from the crowd.
OLD BOSTON BOYS 151
It was certainly a privilege to have seen
Jim Creighton pitch and Joe Leggett catch
him. Creighton was at this time but six-
teen years old ! And yet nobody had ever
approached him in speed and accuracy of
delivery. He was equally popular in cricket
and baseball. He died at the age of twenty
one years, mourned by the entire athletic
community. He went through an entire
season without making a single out, — a
feat nobody has ever accomplished before
or since, to my knowledge. The Excelsiors
erected a fine monument to his memory,
and he is to-day spoken of as the " lamented
Creighton had a great influence upon
my success as a pitcher. I noted him very
carefully and found that his speed was not
due to mere physical strength, but that
this latter was supplemented by a very long
arm and a peculiar wrist movement, very
quick and " snappy " — so much so that he
was accused of underhand throwing, as I
152 OLD BOSTON BOYS
was, afterwards; and I have only to say
that if a throw can be accomplished with a
perfectly rigid elbow-joint, then he and I
were both guilty ; but a throw was never
proven and neither of us was ever ruled
However, as I have said, I studied his
style very carefully and acquired as well as
I could (a very poor copy, by the way) his
effective wrist movement. Later on, when
the rules compelled the pitcher to deliver
the ball with both feet planted firmly upon
the ground, I found this movement of great
assistance in getting a good pace on the
On the next day, July n, 1862, the Ex-
celsiors played a picked nine, composed
of four Tri-Mountains — Chandler, Saltz-
man, Troupe, and Arnold — and five Low-
ells, — Miller, Wilder, Joslin, Adams, and
myself. We were beaten 39 to 13.
In this game Joslin's playing at left field
was mentioned as a " feature of the game ; "
OLD BOSTON BOYS 153
and Chandler, Miller, and I had the honor
of making a home run apiece off Creighton.
Moses E. Chandler, mentioned here, has
always been a lover of clean and healthy
sport. In 1867 he presented to the New
England Baseball Association a beautiful
silver-mounted bat made of six pieces of
wood, each of which possessed historic
Mr. Chandler had also the distinction
of being the first ball player in New Eng-
land who, when running the bases, made
a " dive " for one of them. This happened
in 1859 in Portland, Maine, in a match
between the Tri-Mountains and Portlands,
and the feat fairly astonished the natives,
who at first roared with laughter; but Chan-
dler scored the run> and they then woke up
to the fact that a large, new, and valuable
" wrinkle " had been handed out to them.
About this time we lent our aid to the
Class of '66 in organizing the first club
at Harvard under the New York rules.
154 OLD BOSTON BOYS
We helped them lay out their grounds on
Cambridge Common, near the Washing-
ton Elm, and several of us used frequently
to go out and teach them what we knew of
The prime movers in starting this game
at Harvard were George Flagg, Frank
Wright, Arthur Hunnewell, Tom Nelson,
Eugene Greenleaf, Frank Harris, now the
well-known veteran Medical Examiner,
Ned Sprague, George Parker, Putnam
Abercrombie, Charlie Fiske, and others.
Thus was the pioneer Baseball Club of
Harvard College duly organized, and a lit-
tle later on the Nine appeared in a uniform
of gray flannel, with a large Old English
" H " worked in magenta upon the front of
the shirt. It was a very neat and attrac-
tive suit ; but why a magenta " H " instead
of the time-honored crimson ?
This query involves an interesting bit of
College history, which seems to be but lit-
tle known to-day, and it will interest many
OLD BOSTON BOYS 155
to read the following graphic account of
how the substitution came about, written
for the " Harvard Bulletin " by the late
Frank Wright, captain and pitcher of this
Nine. Wright says : —
I take pleasure in giving you a bit of ancient
history regarding the change in the colors of
Harvard from crimson to magenta, the history
of which has never been written.
We have all heard that Rome was saved by the
cackling of geese, but few, only the very select
few who were honored by the ministration of
Dr. Peabody during the middle 6o's, know that
the Harvard colors were changed from crimson
to magenta by an obscure Boston seamstress,
and that magenta remained the color of Harvard
for eight years.
The change of the Harvard color is interwo-
ven with the origin of baseball at Harvard, and I
must account for them both in the same breath.
One afternoon in March of 1863 a classmate
of mine, during Professor Lane's Latin recitation,
passed a slip of paper to me asking if I would
help him in starting a baseball club. We had
156 OLD BOSTON BOYS
talked of this before, and I adopted the sugges-
tion and wrote upon a slip of paper and passed
it round, asking the fellows to meet in Flagg's
room in Stoughton at eight that evening and
form a baseball club. After the recitation the
hint was given out to men of other divisions,
and the result was that the room was well-filled
at the appointed hour. An organization was
effected without much delay, and the question
of the kind of baseball was discussed. A major-
ity of the fellows wished to form a club to play
Massachusetts baseball, which was then in
vogue, a game slightly improved upon town ball,
which was an improvement upon the old English
game of rounders, but a few of us who hailed from
New York state carried the meeting in favor of
the new game, then called the " Brooklyn " game.
A committee of two was appointed, consisting
of George A. Flagg and myself, to arrange the
preliminaries and to suggest a uniform. Flagg
and I went to Boston the following day, and
under the guidance of John A. Lowell, the pre-
sident of the Lowell Baseball Club of Boston,
went to Hovey's in Summer Street to select
cloth for a uniform. At that time all the base-
OLD BOSTON BOYS 157
ball clubs wore a fierce, fireman-like uniform of
red or blue flannel shirts with any kind of trou-
sers and a gaudy leather belt. We decided to
try some quiet color and selected a gray French
flannel, to be trimmed with crimson, with a
crimson " H " to be embroidered upon the shirt
front. We bought flannel enough for one shirt,
and it was decided that I was " to bell the cat "
and have the first shirt made for me. Mr. Lowell
steered me to a seamstress in Essex Street, who
made uniforms for his club, and she took the
order for a shirt to be embroidered with an old
English "H " in crimson. When the shirt was
sent to me a note came from the seamstress that
she had taken the liberty to embroider my " H "
in magenta instead of crimson, as magenta was
much more fashionable and much prettier than
crimson. I was of course disgusted, but the
shirt was there and the magenta " H " looked
fine. I called a meeting of the club and appeared
in my outfit.
Everyone liked the shirt and the color, and it
was decided to adopt it. The crew could wear
crimson if they liked, but the baseball color
should be magenta.
158 OLD BOSTON BOYS
A nine was selected, uniforms were made,
and we played a game with the old Tri-Moun-
tain Club of Boston, which resulted in an easy
win for us. We then arranged a match with the
Brown University Club and went to Providence
for the game and won easily. Our success at-
tracted the attention of the college, our girl
friends began to wear our magenta colors, and
by the time the boat-races were on at Worces-
ter, magenta was talked of as the Harvard color.
In those days the crew rowed in the " buff,"
but with crimson silk handkerchiefs about their
heads. When Horatio Curtis of '65 and his crew
appeared on Lake Quinsigamond with magenta
handkerchiefs, magenta as Harvard's color was
Frank Wright, '66.
IN 1863 there was a little more activity
among the clubs, but the war kept
down anything like a furor. The Bow-
doins disbanded in this year, having been
foremost among the New England clubs
for four years and sustaining but two de-
feats, — by the Pioneers of Springfield and
On May 29 we beat the Tri-Mountains
by the score of 37 to 1, and, to use the
words of a report of the game next day,
" we doubt the ability of either club to do
the like again." (This score was duplicated
by the Eckfords in 1868 against the
In 1864 John A. Lowell, with his well-
known generosity, public spirit, and kindly
160 OLD BOSTON BOYS
intentions, presented a silver ball to be
played for, thinking that by this means a
greater number of crack clubs would be
brought together in friendly rivalry and
thus the best interests of the game would
be greatly advanced.
This no doubt is as it ought to have
been and would have been under normal
conditions ; but unforeseen circumstances
arose which led to contentions; and the
end sought for by the donor was frus-
trated, and in 1867 it was deemed advisable
to withdraw the trophy from the field.
The records of seventeen match games
were beautifully engraved upon this ball,
and it should undoubtedly have been pre-
served in some museum ; but instead, it
was injudiciously voted by the Committee
of the Association that it should be de-
stroyed^ which vote was forthwith carried
On July 9 of this year, before the silver
ball had appeared, we played our first match
OLD BOSTON BOYS 161
with the Harvards (Class of '66 team), de-
feating them 55 to 25. This game was won
by heavy batting, Miller, Alline, and I each
making one out and eight runs. The re-
port of the game gives Joslin the credit of
making " the most beautiful one hand catch
at left field which we have ever witnessed,"
and adds, " it does one good to see such
fielders as Joslin and Alline play."
On September 27, 1864, the first game
for the silver ball was played by the Tri-
Mountains and the Osceolas of Portland,
Maine, the former winning by the score
of 53 to 18, and on October 4 we won it
from the Tri-Mountains, 33 to 18.
On October 18 the Hampshires of
Northampton came to Boston to " lift " the
silver ball ; but, like more recent attempts
to " lift " things, it proved a bit too heavy
for them, and we retained it after a game
of 8^ to 10. The next year, 1865, on July
15, the Harvards, wanting to have a finger
in the championship pie, came for us with
1 6a OLD BOSTON BOYS
such good effect that the ball took a horse-
car for Cambridge that evening amid great
rejoicings. This, our first real defeat,
coming just before our departure for a
New York trip, was a little discomposing ;
but no doubt it was good medicine and
taught us that there were " others." So we
took the dose and lay low until after the
College vacation, hoping for better luck
next time. On July 18 we started for New
York to play the Resolutes, Atlantics, and
The Resolutes beat us 33 to 14. The
Atlantics, helped by a stupid decision of
the umpire, which cost us thirteen runs,
beat us 45 to 17, and the Excelsiors made
39 to our 31.
I quote from an account of this last
game, which shows that the Lowells made
a pretty good impression in spite of the
scores against them : —
" The batting in the last four innings on
both sides was really excellent ; indeed, no
OLD BOSTON BOYS 163
better has been seen on the grounds this
season. Jewell (of the Excelsiors) obtained
two home runs in one inning, by splendid
hits to long field, and Fletcher, Brainard,
and Flanley also marked their batting by
similar runs. Lovett, of the Lowells, also
secured two home runs, his score being
the best on either side, in any of the three
games, by six runs, no outs, besides being
left three times on bases, he making his
base by his hits no less than nine times.
In batting, in the whole series of games
Lovett is first, Miller second, and Joslin
third. In fly catching, out of 33 catches
Alline took 8, taking the lead, Lovett 7,
Lowell 5, Joslin 5, Wilder 3, and G. Miller,
Adams, and Sumner 2 each. G. Miller
deserves warm praise for his fine play
in his position (pitcher), and seemed as
fresh at the conclusion of the game as
on the first day's play. Lovett is certainly
a splendid player and gives great pro-
mise of rivaling the very best short-stops.
164 OLD BOSTON BOYS
Lowell's catching was first-class in every
respect. Adams is an Ai player at first
base, and Sumner a very effective man for
second base; and three finer outfielders
than Joslin, Alline, and Wilder, the two
former especially, it would be difficult to
obtain outside of our very strongest clubs."
Favorable comment was also made in
the report upon our " deportment ! " and
in this respect we were held up as an ex-
ample to all other clubs, at which we all,
no doubt, blushed with pleasure and be-
Physically, also, they sized us up pretty
accurately, describing us as " exceedingly
young and light-built men, their average
ages being 19, and their average weight
only reaching 130 pounds."
In the Atlantic game John Lowell
brought down the house by stealing a base
on " Dicky " Pearce, who was catching.
Pearce had a habit of leisurely rolling the
OLD BOSTON BOYS 165
ball back to the pitcher; John had just
made his first base and at once " caught
on " to this trick of Pearce's, so as soon
as the latter started to roll the ball, away
went John, safely reaching second, amidst
much laughter and applause.
This trip was memorable in that it
brought us in contact with the late Morti-
mer Rogers, who met us upon our arrival
at the station, and instantly won the es-
teem, friendship, and regard of us all.
This feeling deepened and strengthened
as years went by. Eventually he played
with the Lowells, and later still made Bos-
ton his home.
As an outfielder, Mort. was ahead of his
time, and to-day there is no player who can
run in to a swiftly batted liner and pick it
up within six inches of the ground better
than he could; and those players who can
do it at all to-day are not any too numer-
ous. Long, high hits, which are caught
with one hand, or taken over the shoulder,
166 OLD BOSTON BOYS
the fielder running with the ball, are more
showy and appeal to the " gallery ; " but
every real player knows that the true test
of a fielder lies in his ability to take the
low flies while running into them at full
And here just a word about the up-to-
date outfielding where a padded contriv-
ance, like a huge mitten, is worn upon
one hand. These mittens measure about
ten inches in length and the same in
breadth, with a hollow in the palm wherein
the ball fits like a " baby in a basket."
What credit is there in catching a ball
in such a trap ? True, it protects the fin-
gers of a high-priced player, and he must
exercise judgment in timing the ball and
getting under it ; but there all skill ceases.
I have seen an outfielder jump into the
air and stop a ball with this invention
which he could not possibly have touched
with his bare hand, thereby just as surely
robbing the batter of a fairly earned two
OLD BOSTON BOYS 167
or three base hit, perhaps a home run, as
if he had held up a plank and intercepted
the ball with it.
There is no more call for this mitten in
the outfield to-day than there was forty
years ago, as balls are batted there no
of tener, no harder, and no farther. The
average bare hand covers an area of some
thirty-one or thirty-two square inches,
whereas this mitten covers one hundred !
And the thumb, clear to its tip, is con-
nected with the body of the mitten by a
gore-shaped web or membrane, like that in
a duck's foot, so that the ball cannot pos-
sibly be forced through this opening. O
tempora, O mores !
ON September 25, 1865, we played
the Atlantics of New York, then
champions of America, on Boston
Common. They had not been defeated for
two years, and therefore attracted a very
large crowd, as may be supposed.
We gave them a pretty good game, but
they beat us 30 to 10. The famous Joe
Start, of first base fame, played on this
team, and also Frank Norton, the finest
catcher of his day. Thirty-nine years after
this game, during which interval we had
not met, a rather stout, full- whiskered, gray-
haired man of about — well, never mind
the age — called at my office and greeted
me with, " Hello, Jim." I looked him over
and had to acknowledge that he had the
OLD BOSTON BOYS 169
drop on me. He laughed and wondered if
I remembered Frank Norton and I thought
of the graceful, brilliant young fellow as I
had last seen him. I think he was fully as
surprised as I was at the changes which
time had wrought upon its victims.
The next day the Tri-Mountains were
beaten by the Atlantics, 107 to 16; and
on the 27th the Harvards engaged them
and came off with a score of 22 to the
Atlantics' 58. This game of ours with the
Atlantics was a memorable one, it being
the last in which our captain, pitcher, and
all-round most reliable man, Gat Miller,
made his appearance upon the Lowell
team for several years.
He had entered Harvard College, and
in the natural course of events would have
played with them against us in the game
for the championship, which was to take
place in five days, on September 30; but
Gat was " true blue " and would not resign
as a Lowell man and consequently could
i 7 o OLD BOSTON BOYS
not play against his old nine; and it should
be said, on the other hand, that he was
equally loyal to his college, and never
would play with us against it.
He was so popular with both parties that
he was unanimously invited to umpire this
game, and although it was a trying posi-
tion, he fulfilled the duties to the perfect
satisfaction of both sides. We had, of
course, for some time been anticipating
Miller's leaving us, and I had been at work
practicing to fill his position as well as I
I had never before pitched in a match
game, and I think that the rest of the team,
and our friends generally, had many large-
sized misgivings about the as yet untried
man in so important a. game ; but I felt
eager to get into it and see what I could
do, and the result after all was not so bad,
as we beat them 40 to 37. This gave us
the championship once more ; but our
possession of it was short-lived, as the
OLD BOSTON BOYS 171
Harvards, with their indomitable gameness,
wanting to winter the silver ball in Cam-
bridge if possible, asked for one more game.
In the mean time I was disabled and
was unable to play. Jim Burton, however,
took my place and no doubt batted better
than I should have done, his score being
one out and five runs. The college boys,
however, struck a batting streak and
knocked out 73 runs to our 37.
There occurred in this game a most
remarkable hit made by Tom Nelson,
which is to-day often referred to as " Nel-
son's great strike."
There was a high west wind blowing
during the game and Tom caught the ball
square on the nose with the full swing of
his great strength and away it soared, truly,
upon the wings of the wind. Over the Flag-
staff hill it flew and bounded down the
other side, in the direction of West Street.
There are numerous legends extant as to
where it was finally picked up.
172 OLD BOSTON BOYS
One was that it was stopped while try-
ing to get through West Street gate. An-
other, that it went down West Street,
bounced aboard a passing horse-car and
went out to the Norfolk House.
As I was confined at home, I do not
know anything about it, but anyway Nel-
son wandered around the bases, and then
" waited patiently about until it did appear,"
and often laughed about it in after years.
Speaking of long strikes reminds me of
one which I once made where the ball was
never heard from afterwards. It gives one
a queer sensation to bat a ball up into the
air and never see it again, yet that is what
happened upon this occasion. I was bat-
ting up to the boys one afternoon, and the
ball, when thrown back to me, rolled on to
Beacon Street Mall. I picked it up and
batted it from there. It went straight up
into the thickly leaved trees. I do not re-
member hearing it make any sound, and
never saw it again. Whether it wedged
OLD BOSTON BOYS 173
itself into a fork, plumped into a hole, or
imbedded itself in a limb, like the cannon-
ball in the old Brattle Street Church, I
Another afternoon, while I was again
batting to the outfield, Mr. Francis Gard-
ner, Master of the Public Latin School,
came along the Spruce Street path and
stood watching me a while. Presently, he
approached and said, " Lovett, I hear that
you can put a ball about where you like;
can you send it down to Hawes " (pointing
to Henry Hawes, down in the long field),
11 so that he won't have to move out of his
tracks for it ? "
Now, if Mr. Gardner had asked me to
give him a list of the twenty-six preposi-
tions (or was it a hundred and twenty-six ?)
followed by the accusative, I should prob-
ably have balked ; but I was now on my
own quarter-deck and so answered with
brazen assurance that I thought I could.
" Let her go, then," he said, and I accord-
i 7 4 OLD BOSTON BOYS
ingly let her go, and knew, the instant the
ball left the bat, that it was going true.
Sure enough, Henry never moved an
inch and took it about breast high, upon
which Mr. Gardner chuckled once or twice
to himself and went on his way without
That Mr. Gardner was a rugged, stern
man is well known, but that he was pos-
sessed of a most kind heart and gentle
ways when occasion called for them is not
so generally recognized.
At recess one day he called up and was
questioning a very frail and delicate look-
ing fellow, named Loring, about a lesson
in which he had failed badly. Under Mr.
Gardner's stern eye he completely broke
down, and throwing his arms about the
strong man's neck, hid his face upon his
shoulder and sobbed passionately.
The really sweet and tender way in which
Mr. Gardner comforted that little fellow,
the gentleness with which he stroked the
OLD BOSTON BOYS 175
little head with his big hand, and finally
brought back the smiles to his face, was
a revelation to those of us who were pre-
MARCH 26, 1866, the Lowells
leased a club-room on the cor-
ner of West and Mason streets,
and for five or six years enjoyed it, sum-
mer and winter. Curiously enough, over
one of the windows of these rooms was
a carved " L," and " 1861," the date of our
We had two fine pianists in Ned Har-
low and Jim Hovey, a vocal quartette was
formed, dancing parties were given, and
the Lowell Club was at its zenith.
I am sure that Clude Belches will agree
with me when I state that the rendering
of the " Larboard Watch," by two promi-
nent members has never been duplicated.
John Lowell's inimitable character
OLD BOSTON BOYS 177
sketches, together with songs and stories,
were always a source of pleasure, and,
what with boxing and social enjoyments
of all kinds, the winter months sped rap-
idly in those far-off days.
On June 2, 1866, we met the Flyaways
of East Boston, and for four hours ran
around the bases, making one hundred
and twenty-one runs to fourteen. We went
to Portland on July 4 and played the Eons,
whom we beat 33 to 23, upon a park a
mile or so outside the city limits. While
playing we could see that there was a good-
sized fire raging in the city, and when we
returned thither found ourselves in the
midst of the " big Portland fire."
We had intended returning home that
evening, but stayed and worked nearly all
night in assisting to save the jewelry stock
of Messrs. Lowell & Senter, who very
handsomely acknowledged our efforts in
On July 14 we again tackled Harvard
178 OLD BOSTON BOYS
for the championship, and once more won
it, this time by the score of 37 to 27. 1
In this game it seemed as if the "fickle
goddess," a little disturbed in her mind
for having so heartlessly abandoned us in
the last one (73 to 37), had thought the
matter over and concluded to square her-
self with the Lowell boys. Accordingly,
she graciously lent us her aid, which re-
sulted in our winning by the above score ;
and she, also thinking, no doubt, that it
was but fair that Nelson's great strike in
that game should be offset by something
similar in this one, decreed that one of the
Lowells should make a catch to keep the
strike company. That Her Royal Fickle-
ness booked me for this honor was doubt-
less due to the fact that my position as
1 It is curious to note in how many of the Lowell-
Harvard matches the total score on one side or the other
was either a multiple of seven, or else a number in which
the figure seven appeared ; thus, 28 appears five times ;
37, four times; 27, three times ; 14, 17, 21, and 73, once
OLD BOSTON BOYS 179
pitcher being nearest the batter, possessed
possibilities which the other positions
lacked. Be that as it may, Ames was at
the bat and I pitched him a ball which he
struck with such force that, before any eye
in the crowd could mark its flight, it had
returned to my hand as the latter was in
the act of swinging back after delivery, and
was caught without requiring any extra-
neous movement upon my part to indicate
the fact, so that not a soul excepting Ames
and myself knew what had become of it.
This circumstance, however, did not occur
to me until after I had stood a moment
or two, expecting to hear the Lowell yell.
But not a sound came ; and then instantly
it dawned upon me that nobody knew that
I had caught the ball. My position was a
peculiar one, and I do not know how long
the deception could have been sustained ;
but I had to do something, so I tossed the
ball into the air, whereupon everybody at
once " caught on," and the yell came.
180 OLD BOSTON BOYS
Indeed, tiny, faint echoes of this applause
have filtered down through the forty inter-
vening years, and I am, to-day, often asked
questions about this catch by persons who
are utter strangers to me. I have actually
been asked, " Did you see it coming ? "
" Did you know you had caught it ? "
" Was n't your first impulse to dodge it ? "
I am giving this matter much more space
and prominence than it deserves; but I
have been asked to set forth the incident
as it really occurred, as many people saw
and remember it, and it has been sug-
gested that they might be interested in
hearing the facts at first hand. I will only
add, simply as a matter of record, that
upon four later occasions, I repeated this
catch, but in none of these latter was the
velocity approached with which Ames
drove the ball at me.
It has always been a feather in the
Lowell cap to have had Ames (now Dean
Drawn bv C. D. Gibson
THERE WERE " FANS " IN THOSE DAYS
OLD BOSTON BOYS 181
of the Harvard Law School), upon its nine
for about a year before he entered college,
as his ability as captain of the 'Varsity
team, his coolness and good judgment at
critical moments, his ever alert fielding as
second baseman, and his superior batting
placed him easily in the front rank of ball
ON July 25, 1866, in a match with
the Phillips Academy nine, from
Andover, we had the pleasure of
making the acquaintance of that model
catcher and universal favorite, the late
Later on he entered Harvard and suc-
ceeded George Flagg, whose fine, plucky
catching and brilliant base running made
him famous during the four years in which
he wore the gray and magenta.
We won this game only after a sharp
fight, by the score of 32 to 20.
Like all winners we had lots of friends
at this time, from the street gamins up to
the " Chairman of the Committee on Com-
mons and Squares," who very kindly issued
OLD BOSTON BOYS 183
to us a permit for two or three consecu-
tive years, granting to us the " use of the
grounds on which they usually play, on
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, in
the afternoon, on the Common, to the ex-
clusion of others." They also detailed a
squad of policemen to guard the ropes dur-
ing match games. These policemen were
all good Lowell partisans, as the following
incident will show.
Just before game was called with the
Phillips Academy nine, a friend of mine
overheard two men, evidently strangers
who had come to Boston to see the game,
discussing the probable result, one saying
that he " guessed the Lowells would get
beaten this time all right," when a police-
man who stood within earshot of the re-
mark instantly turned, gave him a wither-
ing look of scorn, and quietly said, " You
talk like a damn fool."
It was while this game was in progress
that Fred Nazro, ever loyal and true, lost
184 OLD BOSTON BOYS
a good hat but gained a halo in exchange,
which metaphorically speaking, he has
worn ever since.
It was like this. At the end of the fifth
innings the Academy boys stood 18 to our
1 6 and were playing a winning game. In
the sixth, we made a rally, knocked out ten
runs and gave them a goose egg, and at
this point the non-playing boys went wild.
Fred, who was frantically waving aloft his
hat, all unconscious of the damage that
was being wrought, finally shook the crown
free from the rim and continued to wave
this accidently created halo, not noticing
anything wrong, until it slipped down over
his head when he tried to put his hat on.
We played two more games that fall
for the championship : one, on September
15, with the King Phillips of East Ab-
ington, which we won by 75 to 1 7, and the
other on September 29, with the Granites
of Holliston, which we also won by 47 to
Alline Joslin Lowell Page Fuller
Burton Crosby Gardner Sumner Lovett (Capt.) Wilder
Lovett (Capt.) Jewell Newton Rogers Alline
Hawes Joslin Sumner Bradbury
Dennison King Lang Simmons
Perkins Rice Lang Appleton
LOWELL BASEBALL CLUB AND " ROOTERS "
OLD BOSTON BOYS 185
In the King Phillip match Sumner car-
ried off the honors in fielding, the report
of the game describing his play at second
base as " the best he ever made and the
best we recollect ever having seen in that
position, not even excepting Crane" (of the
In the Granite match Mort. Rogers made
his first appearance upon the Lowell nine,
and proved to be a most valuable acquisi-
tion to our outfield, he playing centre.
In the spring of 1867 the Harvard boys,
thinking no doubt that the silver ball was
growing dull from too long exposure to
the Boston east winds, and that it needed
a change of air, determined to take it a
few miles further inland, if possible, and
" brighten it up a bit," and, incidentally,
polish off the Lowells at the same time.
Accordingly they sent us an invitation
to play a series of match games, " best two
out of three," for the championship. This
was something new, as heretofore one
186 OLD BOSTON BOYS
game had decided the question, thereby
saving much valuable time. We therefore
notified them of our acceptance of their
challenge, and also expressed our prefer-
ence that, if agreeable to them, one game
should settle the matter. To this they re-
plied that the conditions were agreeable
(as to the time, place, etc.), but that they
preferred that the terms should be best
two out of three, as originally proposed.
Not caring to prolong the question, we ac-
quiesced and at once made arrangements
for the series, the first of which was played
May 15, on the Common, where we won
by a score of 37 to 28.
The second game was played on May
24, on Jarvis Field, Cambridge ; this time
the Harvards winning by 32 to 26.
The third and deciding game was played
on a potato patch (I wish I could call it
a ball ground), in Medford, where we were
again beaten, this time by the score of 39
to 28. In this game Bob Shaw of the Har-
James D'Wolf Lovett
M. Mortimer Rogers
John A. Lowell
OLD BOSTON BOYS 187
vards gave us a touch of his quality at first
base, which one rarely sees equaled and
never excelled by either amateur or pro-
fessional. He made five fly catches and
assisted in disposing of fifteen base run-
ners, thus being instrumental in capturing
twenty of the twenty-seven outs, and with-
out an error!
On June 17 the celebrated Athletics of
Philadelphia visited Boston, and on that
date defeated the Eons of Portland, on the
Common, 8& to 22. The next day the
Harvards gave them a splendid game, but
were beaten by a score of 22 to 10, the
Athletics winning only by their heavy bat-
ting. The fielding of Harvard was fully
equal to that of their powerful opponents,
if not better.
The next day we played the Philadel-
phians, and a sort of " dry rot" seemed to
take possession of the entire Lowell nine.
We played like beginners and allowed
them to pile up 53 runs to our 5, in five
188 OLD BOSTON BOYS
innings, when a most welcome thunder-
shower put an end to the fun (?).
It seems evident that the Golden Rule
was not intended to be prominent in ath-
letic contests, where each participant is
endeavoring to the utmost of his ability to
do unto the other fellow just what he would
not have the other fellow do unto him;
and if A beats B, it seems to be the nat-
ural thing for B, failing to get back at A,
to desire to take it out of C, if he can.
It is therefore tolerably certain that, if
the Golden Rule ever comes to be univer-
sally applied, contests of all kinds must
cease naturally, as the stronger will refrain
from beating the weaker, the weaker can-
not beat the stronger, and the result will
be " nil."
As the above rule, however, is at present
limited in its workings, and as the Lowells
were smarting somewhat from their land-
slide with the Athletics, and being actuated
by the praiseworthy desire to " take it out "
OLD BOSTON BOYS 189
of somebody else, if possible, they accepted
with pleasure the kind invitation of the
Rockinghams of Portsmouth, N. H., to
visit them. The Lowells went to Ports-
mouth, met with a hearty reception, and
relieved their feelings by prancing around
the bases one hundred and seven times.
The U. S. Navy was represented in this
match by Lieutenant Harmony, then on
duty at the Portsmouth Navy Yard, and
he fully sustained the reputation which
the U. S. naval officers have established of
being " jolly good fellows," for he was the
life of the game. Here 's hoping that his
voyage through life has been a calm and
The green curtain was rung down on
the silver ball in September, 1867, after
we had lost it to the Tri-Mountains in a
series of three games, we winning the first
one 20 to 16, and they the other two, 40
to 35 and 42 to 22. In the second of these
games we once more had the pleasure of
i 9 o OLD BOSTON BOYS
having Gat Miller on the team, in his old
position as pitcher; and once again and
for the last time did we have his valuable
and ever-welcome assistance on October
4, 1867, when we had the honor of being
the first New England club that ever de-
feated a prominent New York team. This
was the Excelsiors of Brooklyn, the same
who paid us a visit in July, 1862 ; but they
no longer had a Creighton and Leggett to
pitch and catch for them, the former hav-
ing died and the latter having given up
playing. Still they had the then famous
Cummings for pitcher. We beat them 29
to 21, and on the 7th the Harvards repeated
our performance, only " more so," making
18 to the Excelsiors' 6.
After a few preliminary games in the
spring of 1868, we started on June 9 for a
tour through some of the New England
cities in an attempt to be "neighborly."
The programme was somewhat marred by
rainy days, and several games had to be
OLD BOSTON BOYS 191
omitted ; but it was a most enjoyable out-
Fitchburg was our first point, where on
the 19th we beat the Rollstones, 50 to 14.
Two days were then lost on account of
rain, after which in New Haven on the
1 3th we ran up against the Yales for the
first time. This was a memorable game
for us, in that it was the only one of ten
innings we ever played. At the end of the
ninth the score stood twelve all, and we
went in to do or die. I led off at the bat
and went out ignominiously at first ; but
luckily there were better men who fol-
lowed me, and Joslin, Rogers, Sumner,
and Jewell worked their passage around
the bases, thus again giving us a lead
with which the Yale boys were unable to
cope, they making but one run, the final
score standing 16 to 13.
Games of more than nine innings were
comparatively rare in those days, and
some of the boys who accompanied us
192 OLD BOSTON BOYS
upon this trip nearly died of heart failure
during the last innings.
We stayed at New Haven until the
next evening, when we left for Hartford,
where, on the 15th, we played the Char-
ter Oaks, beating them 61 to 12.
Rain prevented our game with the
Oceanics of New London, which was
booked for the 16th, so we left that after-
noon for Providence, where on the 1 7th of
June we crossed swords with Brown Uni-
versity, on the Dexter Training Ground.
This was to have been the " wind-up " to
our trip, amid red fire, tom-toms, and the
rejoicings of a large party of friends who
came down from Boston to join in our
apotheosis, but somehow we slipped a
cog and the programme on the Training
Ground got twisted, the Browns making
22 runs to our 19, instead of the other way
about as was intended.
Frank Herreshoff, one of the most fa-
mous athletes who ever went to Brown
**a ^ m*
OLD BOSTON BOYS 193
University, pitched against us in this
game. He is a brother of Nat Herreshoff ,
the famous yacht designer. He and I were
old friends, and I am glad to say he is
still living and prosperous.
THIS ending to our trip took the
sharp edge off the pleasures of
home-coming, and we laid it up
against Brown for a year, when, on the
17th of June, 1869, we went back and bal-
anced accounts, making 40 to their 13,
and then felt better.
I do not know if the present amateur
clubs make these friendly tours, as was the
custom in ante-professional days ; but dur-
ing the years when the championship of
New England was held by either the Har-
vards or Lowells, we were treated royally
wherever we went and enjoyed all the
pleasures and glory that can be derived
from ball playing. Private houses were
open to us, balls were given in our honor,
OLD BOSTON BOYS 195
and even cigars were named for us. What
more could heart desire ?
The silver ball being out of the way,
a series of friendly games, best two out of
three, was now arranged for between the
Harvards and Lowells, and on July 4, 1868,
the Magenta and Lowell Blue again locked
horns. We won, 23 to 20, and the second
game was played on July 21, the Harvards
winning by a close margin, 28 to our 27.
A remarkable feature of the first of these
two games was that each of the Harvard
boys made just three outs. Up to that time
this was, I believe, unprecedented.
The third game was never played, it
being postponed until after the college va-
cation and then dropped as another series
was arranged for instead.
These friendly bouts with Harvard were
always enjoyable, as we were evenly
matched; the college boys were at all
times courteous and manly opponents, and
both teams played upon the dead level,
196 OLD BOSTON BOYS
and for every ounce of which they were
capable. Every scintilla of the feeling
which had been engendered in the strug-
gles for the silver ball, and then only by
partisans and not participated in by the
players themselves, had been buried and
replaced by a healthy, virile rivalry, such
as merely stimulated without intoxicating.
On October 3, 1868, we played the first
game of the new series, which was won by
Harvard, 27 to 24, and on the 9th we re-
turned the compliment, winning by 33 to
30. In this game I made my top score, con-
sisting of no outs and eight runs, earned
first base six times, made seventeen bases,
three clean home runs, and one three-base
hit. I have always been a bit proud of this
score against such a nine as the Harvards,
and thus herald it forth with such brazen
effrontery. I once made a score of no outs,
fifteen runs, and one home run, in a match
with the Andersons of Lynn, but this score
is left lying around loose, while the former
OLD BOSTON BOYS 197
is kept wrapped up in a piece of pink tissue
paper, so to speak. In the third game of
this series the Harvards again beat us,
28 to 15, thus closing the season of 1868.
In the spring of 1869 the Common was
plowed up, and, being thus deprived of
all chance to practice, it was right at this
point, or at least in the fall, that the
Lowells should have disbanded and grace-
fully stepped down and out while yet they
could have done so with a long string of
victories and but comparatively few de-
feats for a record. (In the last six years we
had played ninety-nine games and won
It is seldom that baseball has figured in
politics, but in December, 1869, through
fear of being permanently deprived of the
use of the Common as a playground, the
ball players of Boston decided to take a
hand in the political game and do what
they could to help elect a mayor and alder-
men known to be favorably disposed to-
198 OLD BOSTON BOYS
wards athletic sports and who were also
willing to grant the use of the Common
as a playground as it had been heretofore.
Accordingly, on Saturday evening, De-
cember ii, three days before election, a
hastily called meeting was held, and on
Monday, the 13th, the following notice of
it appeared in the " Boston Herald : " —
" BASEBALLISTS IN COUNCIL. NOMINATION
OF A TICKET FOR ALDERMEN.
" A meeting of gentlemen interested in
baseball and other outdoor athletic sports
was held Saturday evening, December
11, in the Lowell Baseball Club rooms
to organize for the municipal election.
Mr. John A. Lowell presided. A com-
mittee was appointed at a previous meet-
ing to nominate candidates for Aldermen,
and reported the following statement,
which was adopted.
"'To correct a misunderstanding which
appears to exist as to the object of this
OLD BOSTON BOYS 199
movement, it becomes necessary to state
that the design is to foster not the game
of baseball and its interests alone, but out-
door sports in general as an important
means of promoting the physical training
of our youth and consequently the public
health. The Common has been taken and
nothing left in its place, and the main ob-
ject is to select men who will grant our
youth some spot for recreation. Beyond
this, it has no object or aim, political or
otherwise.* After perfecting the organiza-
tion of rallying committees for each ward
the meeting adjourned."
The baseball tickets were distinguished
by a large red ball printed at the top and
bore the names of aldermanic candidates
which had been carefully selected from
both Republicans and Democrats. In spite
of the short time at their disposal, for or-
ganization, printing, etc., the " Red ball
ticket," as it was known, was hustled
200 OLD BOSTON BOYS
through, and upon the 14th, duly appeared
at the several polling places, where they
were distributed by enthusiastic volunteers
who explained to the voters the reasons
for their existence.
The idea "took," a large number of
these ballots were cast, and there is no
reason to doubt their influence upon the
election. At all events, the lower end of
the Common was assigned to the boys
the following spring, and Mayor Shurtleff,
who was reelected, personally thanked
Mr. Lowell, and through him the commit-
tee, for their efforts.
In May the Mutuals of New York took
a trip to Boston and played the Tri-Moun-
tains, whom they defeated 69 to 1 7. Then
they played with the Harvards, beating
them 43 to 11, and wound up with the
Lowells, who made 21 to the Mutuals' 26,
in an eight innings game. The paper next
day said, " The Lowells acquitted them-
selves nobly in this game with the Mutuals.
OLD BOSTON BOYS 201
They outfielded the Mutuals, as these
themselves acknowledged, and batted in a
manner that reminded one of old times.
With practice they may yet regain their
old position as the foremost club of New
England." But we could not get the re-
quisite practice, and old times do not come
Business was now the real and serious
thing in life for all of us, and neither base-
ball nor any other game requiring skill,
mental or physical, can be won upon past
reputation. This lack of a practice ground
affected the Tri-Mountains as seriously as
it did the Lowells, and was sufficient ex-
cuse for their defeats, as well as ours, by
country clubs, which a year earlier would
have been victories.
On June 10 of this year Boston was
visited by the renowned Cincinnati " Red
Stockings," who were then upon their
phenomenally successful tour. They trav-
eled from ocean to ocean; played sixty-
202 OLD BOSTON BOYS
three games with the strongest clubs in
the country and won sixty-three straight
As this trip of the " Red Stockings " has
never been equaled by any professional
baseball nine, and probably never will be,
ball players will be interested to see a few
of its statistics.
They traveled 11,877 miles, played to
about 200,000 spectators, and made 2677
runs against their opponents' 637. They
made 3323 clean base hits and 169 home
In running the bases, the players trav-
eled 222 miles. This celebrated nine was
composed of George Wright, short-stop ;
Harry Wright, centre field ; Douglas Alli-
son, catcher ; Fred Waterman, third base ;
Charlie Gould, first base ; Andy Leonard,
left field ; Calvin McVey, right field ; Char-
lie Sweasy, second base; and Asa Brainard,
George Wright led the batting, with a
OLD BOSTON BOYS 203
total of 339 runs, 304 base hits, a grand
total of 614 bases and 49 clean home runs.
He assisted 179 times and made 82 fly-
catches out of 86 chances, thus making
good his title to " King."
The Lowells ran up against this for-
midable aggregation on June 10 on the
lower end of the Parade Ground and scored
9 runs to the " Reds' " 29. Being laid up
with a sprained ankle, I had to forego the
pleasure of playing against this champion
On the nth they beat the Tri-Moun-
tains, 40 to 1 2, and on the 1 2th made 30
to the Harvards' 1 1.
Very rarely, if ever, during the next
two years, did the Lowells play a match
with their full nine in the field, the vacan-
cies being filled by inferior men ; and with
no practice between matches, the result
was inevitable. The club lost ground, en-
thusiasm waned, many influential mem-
bers withdrew to give all their attention to
204 OLD BOSTON BOYS
the Boston Club (professional), then just
forming, and in short the end of amateur
baseball playing in Boston was near at
Protracted death struggles make nei-
ther a pleasing picture nor an agreeable
subject upon which to write, and I do not
care to parade those of the Lowell Base-
ball Club. Suffice it to say that for two
seasons it somehow lingered on in a state
of atrophy, during which many games
were presented as gifts to clubs who, a
little earlier, might have had to whistle for
The end came on December 12, 1873,
when a few of us around a dining-table at
the Parker House held a coroner's inquest,
rendered a verdict of death from unavoid-
able causes, wound up its few remaining
affairs, and the once famous Lowell Club
was no more. Requiescat in pace !
Both the Tri-Mountains and Lowells
had good stuff in them, and with the same
OLD BOSTON BOYS 205
opportunities for practice which were en-
joyed by college nines need have feared no
amateur club of New England for some
time longer. Probably any promising ball
player of to-day, of say eighteen years of
age, has attained a proficiency equal to
that with which we left off at twenty-five,
he being born into the atmosphere of the
national game, weaned and brought up
In closing these gleanings of past years,
which it has been a pleasure to collect and
present to those who care to read them, I
should be remiss if I neglected to mention
the valuable services of George B. Apple-
ton, for many years scorer for the Lowells.
He accompanied us upon nearly all our
trips, and in victory or defeat was always
genial, optimistic, and light-hearted, —
qualities which have won for him so many
friends through life.
It is rather a curious fact, and one to
which I called attention a few years ago,
206 OLD BOSTON BOYS
that the surnames of nineteen Lowells
who, first and last, played upon the first
nine, were composed of six letters. Follow-
ing is a list of them : —
Alline, Arnold, Briggs, Burton, Conant,
Crosby, Fuller, Jewell, Joslin, Lovett,
Lowell, Mellen, Miller, Newton, Rogers,
Sumner, Watson, Wilder, and Wright.
By way of apology for the frequent use,
in the preceding pages, of the " first person
singular, tall and perpendicular," as Thack-
eray once put it, I can only say that it
seemed to be unavoidable in a collection
of reminiscences, and I hope that it will be
A miserly person, when asked why he
deprived himself of all luxuries for the sake
of hoarding up his money for others to
spend after his death, replied, " If they en-
joy spending my money one half as much
as I have enjoyed saving it, they are wel-
come to it."
And so I close this little volume with
OLD BOSTON BOYS 207
the thought that if any reader enjoys the
trifles contained in it one half as much as
I have enjoyed collecting them for him, I
shall be well satisfied.
FOUR WORDS FROM HIS
u Quis perscribet ipsum scriptorem ? "
AT the dinner mentioned in the
" Foreword " the most important
question before the meeting was,
"Who shall chronicle the historian him-
self ? "
It was agreed — with but one emphatic
negative — that it would be impossible for
our old friend to employ successfully the
first person singular, because a long disuse
had probably rendered him incapable of
rightly spelling that important personal
pronoun in all its cases and forms.
We have been immensely amused at his
frantic efforts — stimulated by this stricture
212 FOUR WORDS
upon his unconquerable modesty — to tell
something of his own part in the athletics
of the old days. But the agreement was
explicit, in spite of his vehement opposi-
tion, that if there was not enough " ego "
in the narrative, we, his less important con-
temporaries, should exercise the reciprocal
privilege of giving our recollections of him.
Now, though he has striven manfully to
tell about himself, we may say, as Patrick
Henry did to George Washington, when
he could not be prevailed upon to make a
speech after having risen to do so, " Sit
down, sir, sit down. Your modesty equals
your valor, and both are invincible." We
have therefore exercised a friendly com-
pulsion in thus drawing his portrait.
It was a time of fervid enthusiasm for
many athletic sports, yet there was certainly
no figure that so universally and instantly
caught the eye of the spectator by a quite
unique grace, strength, and speed, as that
of our historian. This was as true in foot-
FOUR WORDS 213
ball as baseball, and his easy lead of even
the best professionals was as marked in the
gymnasium as on the Common. This su-
premacy was known and acknowledged by
every boy on the Campus in those days,
except one, who will not believe it up to
the present moment. The writer well re-
members Lovett's catch, without gloves, of
Ames's liner, which seemed simply miracu-
lous, and certainly remains the best, even
in these days of professional gladiators, to
those who saw it.
From one of his sisters comes this char-
acteristic glimpse of our friend. On the
day of this match, coming out of their house
on Chestnut Street, her attention was ar-
rested by a long-continued succession of
cheers from the Common. On asking her
brother Jim that evening the cause of this
uproar, the only reply she could get was,
" Oh, one of our fellows made a catch."
In looking back it appears to at least
one of us as if our chronicler had foreseen
214 FOUR WORDS
and taken as his model the spirit of that
noble quatrain of Gelett Burgess, —
" Not the quarry, but the Chase,
Not the laurel, but the Race,
Not the hazard, but the Play,
Let me, Lord, prefer alway."
22 The Fenway, Nov. 20, 1904.
My dear Sam, — Thanks for your in-
vitation. It will give me great pleasure to
dine with you on the 29th, and it will be
very pleasant to meet Jim Lovett again.
On the Parade Ground in those old days
he was The King. I gladly renew my
allegiance ! I like to think of him (and
often do) so manly and square and a mas-
ter of the games ; and I wish I knew more
of him in these days. With thanks,
Yours, Robert S. Peabody.
FOUR WORDS 215
Gerrit S. Miller, of Peterboro', N. Y.,
writes in part (of the book) : " It seems to
be a gem of its kind, and the charm of
Jim's unselfish, modest nature pervades it
from beginning to end." (Of the man)
" there was no one to compare with Jim
Lovett as an all-round athlete.
" In the gymnasium he was a wonder-
ful combination of strength, agility, and
Between thirty and forty years ago these
words of introduction would certainly have
been needless ; and perhaps they are now.
When the Messrs. Doherty write of ten-
nis, or Mr. Travis of golf, in these days,
the world of athletics, without prompting,
recognizes the authority with which they
speak and eagerly seeks what they have
to say about the games in which they are
2i6 FOUR WORDS
preeminent. But here is a book by a writer
who was all that they are and more, —
marvelous as an athlete, idolized as a ball
player, the most widely known and enthu-
siastically admired young man of his day
in New England. After all these years
his name is still honored; and, because
that name is so dear to those who were his
playmates and are still his friends, they
have asked a few to try to give his readers
some impression as to the master right of
Mr. Lovett to treat of athletic sports.
His book fitly closes with the winding
up of the famous Lowell Baseball Club of
Boston, but it should be recorded that he
continued to play often during two years
with the amateur club which succeeded it,
and gave invaluable aid in its early strug-
gles against the same difficulties which the
Lowells had encountered. His influence
did not cease even then, for his example
helped that club to keep alive for many
years longer the traditions of amateur sport
FOUR WORDS 217
and fair play that prevailed in the days of
which this book treats. I cannot believe
that those traditions are to be entirely dis-
carded. When Mr. Lovett was born, Bos-
ton was a comparatively small city, smaller
than Worcester or Columbus to-day ; now
the community has so grown that no Bos-
ton youth can ever again be first, as our
friend was first about forty years ago. The
changes in athletic sports, however, are as
great as those in the city itself, and, in spite
of all the progress and improvement, some-
thing has been lost of the spirit that char-
acterized the contests which this book re-
calls. Yet it may be that this simple and
straightforward story of friendly competi-
tions will appeal to the generous spirit of
the youth of to-day and help to revive, in
baseball and similar contests, the courteous
fairness which even now is not lacking in
tennis and golf.
A contrast between two baseball games
at Cambridge, a quarter of a century apart,
2i8 FOUR WORDS
may illustrate this difference in spirit while
it records the esteem in which Mr. Lovett
was held by his opponents. Several years
ago, when the Harvard nine was being out-
played at Cambridge by the Princetons, I
saw for the first time an organized effort
by the home club's sympathizers to dis-
concert their guests by noise. They suc-
ceeded in doing so through the annoyance
and confusion caused to pitcher and umpire
by incessant and unwarranted cheering,
very different from the genuine cheers
which have their proper part in applauding
and encouraging the players. The practice
has since become common.
In the other game the Harvard nine was
being beaten by the Lowells ; and the de-
feat was hard for them to bear, after their
long lead had been overcome by the won-
derful work of one man. He tells of the
match in this book but does not do justice
to the extraordinary part he played in it.
He had begun the game at second base,
FOUR WORDS 219
hoping that another pitcher might prove
more effective, and the day seemed lost
to the Lowells when he went in to pitch.
He simply mowed his opponents down, and
but for errors they would not have scored
another run ; while defeat was turned into
victory for his side by his own terrific bat-
ting, which included three home runs and
a three-base hit with the bases full. When
he had occasion to cross over to the Har-
vard side of the field near the end of this
exciting game, the leader of the Harvard
cheering turned to his fellow students with
a call for cheers " for Jimmy Lovett ; " and
they were given with generous cordiality.
There is the contrast, whatever its cause.
The followers of modern athletic contests,
in the strenuous spirit of " doing things "
and "getting there," try to annoy and
disturb the guest who is defeating their
players, — but their predecessors cheered
Henry W. Lamb,
In an admirably written article in the " Har-
vard Magazine" for June, 1858, which appeared
shortly after this race, urging the imperative
necessity for stricter training among the college
oarsmen, the Volant crew is held up as an
example in this direction ; and the self-compla-
cency of the Huron boys, fostered by a recent
victory over Yale, and also at Springfield and
in the Fourth of July regatta on Charles River,
is sat upon vigorously and no doubt with good
results. The writer says that through these suc-
cessive victories "their exultation was raised
to its height." " But," he goes on to say, " we
hear strange things about the prowess of the
Volant Club ; and so a match is brought about.
We hear that the townsmen are in training, and
doing well ; we smile complacently and say,
'Very good, — as good as can be expected/ —
and eagerly double our bets. Reports of extraor-
dinary trial speed reach us ; we do not waver,
but think with undiminished confidence of that
long stroke which is destined to tell in the third
mile, when they are exhausted by their rapid
rowing, and — we lose our money. The evidence
of our eyes is hardly enough to convince us of
our defeat. . . . We have been assured by two
members that in no one instance did the Volant
crew deviate from the rules of training. ... It
is a mistake to suppose they beat the Hurons by
their weight ; it was their severe, conscientious
training ; their stern determination to win when
it must have been agony to one of their number
to row, and finally, their scrupulous attention
to details, however trifling, that gave them the
The above extract from the " Harvard Maga-
zine " is certainly a well deserved tribute to the
iron will and grim determination of these old-
time athletes, who, in the days when professional
coaches were unknown, training tables unheard
of, and the stimulus of enormous pecuniary re-
ceipts was entirely lacking, could thus consci-
entiously and systematically train themselves to
such a degree of perfection. And all for what ?
Purely and simply for the love of clean, whole-
some sport and generous rivalry. Surely it is
up to the young men in this day of tainted ath-
leticism to lay the lesson of this singleness of
purpose well to heart and not entirely lose sight
of the fact that there is an ethical as well as a
brutal side to field and water sports.
This 1858 Fourth of July regatta was the
longest race ever pulled in any Harvard College
boat, and it is of more than common interest to
know who the men were who could row a gruel-
ling, six-mile race, under a July sun, without a
mishap. Following are the names, weights, etc.,
of this famous old crew : —
Benj. W. Crowninshield (stroke) 156 lbs. Class of '58
Caspar Crowninshield 154" " " '6o
Charles W. Eliot 138 " " " '53
James H. Ellison 141 " " " '59
J. H. Wales 136^" " " '61
Alex. E. R, Agassiz (bow) 142 " " " '55
The Harvard was the first shell ever owned
by the College Navy and was but forty feet long,
the shortest of the eight contesting boats, —
"which fact no doubt cut the time of turning the
stake boats by some valuable seconds.
The time made by the four leading boats was
as follows : Harvard, 40.25 ; Fort Hill Boy,
41.44; Lexington, 42.30 ; Stirling, 43.04.
The generous rivalry in athletic sports in those
far-away days, compared with the cutthroat com-
petition of the present time, is well illustrated
by the fact that the Harvards, after the race,
magnanimously added $25 of their $100 prize to
the Fort Hill Boy's second prize of $50 — thus
making an even division of the money.
The finish of this race was close by the Union
Club House at Braman's, so that the victorious
crew was still three miles from home, but they
at once started up the Charles and upon their
arrival were greeted — not by the martial strains
of a brass band and the frenzied cheers of a howl-
ing mass of partisans intoxicated with joy over
the victory, as would be the case to-day, but by
one solitary professor, the late Frederic Dan
Huntington, Bishop of Central New York ; and
instead of being tenderly lifted from the boat in
which they had done such Spartan work, and
carried aloft in triumph, they were compelled
to go up a rope, hand over hand, to the floor of
the boathouse, the dignity of a raft still being a
thing of the future.
Three of this splendid, time-honored crew are
still living, one, a star of the first magnitude in
the world of science, and another the honored
head of the university for which they fought so
valiantly. The other three members lived until
within a few years.
The unswerving faith of the backers of the
Fort Hill Boy up to the time of the pistol-shot
announcing the start, and their consternation a
little later at seeing the despised " Fops " sweep
grandly over the line as the other pistol-shot
rang out, telling of their victory, is humorously
told by the Rev. William R. Huntington, Class
of '59 (now rector of Grace Church, New York),
in two songs, — the first supposed to have been
sung before and the second after the race. They
appeared in the "Harvard Magazine" for July,
1858, and are as follows : —
MICHAEL TO PATRICK
(Air, Paddy O'Rafferty.)
Arrah, me Patsy ! jist look at the College boat :
Niver afore did ye see so much knowledge float.
Shure it 's a shame that their arms is n't bigger now,
For it is muscle, not brains, that will figure now.
(Chorus) O ye b'ys, ye fops, ye lady pets,
Twinty to wan, and our word that we pay
Only step here and obsarve the dhroll make of her.
Shavin 's and wire is the notion ye take of her.
Round as a pratie, and sharp as a pick, is she,
But niver a match in a race for the Mickies she.
(Chorus) O ye b'ys, ye fops, ye lady pets,
Twinty to wan, and our word that we pay
Twig the spoon oars what they pull her, me jewel,
Why don't they keep them to ate their oat-gruel with ?
Wooden spoons shure is no sign of good luck at all ;
Silver we '11 have, when the prize we have took it all.
(Chorus) O ye b'ys, ye fops, ye lady pets,
Twinty to wan, and our word that we pay
PATRICK TO MICHAEL
Look ! look ! will ye, Mike,
Ye ne'er saw the like :
These childer have waxed us through and through.
The studints is here,
But, bad 'cess ! it is clear
We '11 wait awhile now for the Irish crew.
(Chorus) Har-r-vard ! Har-r-vard ! O ye spalpeens !
Have n't ye scattered my wages like
I can't pay a quarter
The bets that I oughter.
Divil fly off wid yer wondherful stroke.
Jist hark to the yells
Of thim Beacon Street swells,
And see, over yonder, the cambric wave ;
While Micky there stands,
A-wringin' his hands,
And Biddy is wipin' her eyes on her slave.
(Chorus) Har-r-vard ! Har-r-vard ! O ye spalpeens !
Have n't ye scattered my wages like
I can't pay a quarter
The bets that I oughter.
Divil fly off wid yer wondherful stroke.
Let 's scuttle our boats :
Nary one of them floats
But looks kind o' shamed about the bows ;
And oh ! may the crews
In future refuse
To meddle with race-boats, and stick to their scows.
(Chorus) Har-r-vard ! Har-r-vard ! O ye spalpeens !
Have n't ye scattered my wages like
I can't pay a quarter
The bets that I oughter.
Divil fly off wid yer wondherful stroke.
The international four-oar race between the
Harvards and Oxfords which was rowed on the
Thames, over a course measuring four miles,
three furlongs, on August 27, 1869, will long be
remembered upon both sides of the big pond. It
was the initial race between English and Ameri-
can universities and was a superb exhibition of
American pluck and endurance in the face of
unfamiliar conditions and surroundings as well
as of illness, which called forth enthusiastic
praise from the generous sporting spirit of the
English people, and it was estimated that at least
a million spectators witnessed the event.
The Harvards, being most desirous of meeting
the English crew, yielded all disputed points
and met them literally upon their own terms by
agreeing to row a straight-away, four-oar race,
with a coxswain (an officer which had not been
known at Harvard for years), and over the Ox-
ford's usual course on the Thames, from Putney
to Mortlake. The race was rowed up stream
with the tide, which runs about four miles an
hour. The river, between the two points named,
is very crooked, nearly S-shaped, full of eddies
and shoals, crossed by three arched bridges, and
in some places obstructed by piles. This course
had been the scene of no less than twenty con-
tests between Oxford and Cambridge, and of
course was perfectly familiar to the English-
The four Harvards originally picked for this
race were Alden P. Loring, bow, George Bass,
3, Sylvester W. Rice, 2, William H. Simmons,
stroke, and Arthur Burnham, coxswain. They
sailed for Europe July 10, arriving after a ten
days' passage and about five weeks before the
date set for the race. The London Rowing Club
tendered them every civility and made them
honorary members. Two American and three
English boats had been built for and tried by
them, but finally, three days before the race, an
American boatbuilder, Elliott, who had brought
over the knees and draughts of a new boat, com-
pleted one which was preferred to all the others
and forthwith adopted. About two weeks before
the event the crew was changed and the follow-
ing men rowed in the race : Joseph S. Fay, Jr.,
bow, F. O. Lyman, 3, William H. Simmons, 2,
Alden P. Loring, stroke, and Arthur Burnham,
coxswain. Their average weight was 1 50 pounds
against their opponents' 1 56^ pounds.
The English crew were : S. D. Darbishire,
stroke, J. C. Tinne, A. C. Yarborough, F. Wil-
lan, and J. H. Hall, coxswain.
They were eight wonderful oarsmen, the flower
of two great universities, and were bound to give
a good account of themselves.
This great race is now ancient history, but it
is well to recall to later generations the gallant
fight which these Harvard boys made against
a crew picked from the eight men who had
won nine straight victories for the dark blue of
Oxford. They were all veterans at the oar and
considered the finest four which ever rowed on
the Thames. Most unfortunately two of the
Harvards were overtrained and stale several
days before the race ; but in spite of all obstacles
and drawbacks they were game to the core and
rowed a grand race, and although beaten, all
honor is due to the boys who went three thou-
sand miles from home to do battle for their
The time made by the Oxfords was 22.41 J, and
the Harvards followed in 22.47J. The referee
was Thomas Hughes, of " Tom Brown " fame.
The great lesson learned from this race was
the absolute necessity for a " coach/' a man
whose word is law in the boat and out of the
boat. Such a man, if competent, is of untold
comfort to a training crew in managing all the
thousand and one little details that worry a cap-
tain and take the edge off that keenness which
is so all-important for him to carry into the
race. In the science of boating the services of
a "coach" have long been recognized as indis-
pensable. Had this lesson been learned by Har-
vard before going to England, — who knows ?
perhaps a different tale would have been told.
It has been shown in the preceding pages
how, by mere chance, magenta was made the
Harvard color and remained so for eight years,
and it may interest those not cognizant of the
fact to learn that in 1858, owing to a somewhat
similar circumstance, the college color escaped
being blue by a very close margin.
To quote freely from the "Harvard Book,"
published in 1875, to which I am indebted for
many points in the foregoing English race, it
came about in this way : When the first 'Varsity
crew was organized in 1856, the uniform was a
white shirt with a cap copied from that of the
St. John Union Club, white with scarlet band
and no visor. The 'Varsity crew of 1858 found,
however, that handkerchiefs were a convenient
sort of head gear and decided to adopt them.
Abercrombie, D. Putnam,
Adams, T. Spencer, 148, 152,
Agassiz, A. E. B., 59.
Alden, John, 109.
Alline, W. H., 35, 78, 161, 163,
Allison, Douglas, 202.
Ames, Prof. James Barr, 85,
Amory, Edward, 35.
Anderson B. B. C, 196.
Andrew, John A., 80.
Appleton, George B., 205.
Appleton, Capt. Nathan, 35, 75.
April 1 hoax, 48.
Archibald, Edward, 143.
Arnold, Edward L., 93-95.
Arnold, George, 144, 152.
Athletic B. B. C., 187.
Athletic goods, 134.
Atlantic B. B. C, 162, 168, 169.
Austin, Samuel, 109.
Back Bay, 13.
Bacon, George H., 107.
Banker, B., 148.
Barron, John, 79.
Baseball, origin of, 126.
Baseball, old Massachusetts
game, 127, 128, 140; boy's
method of choosing sides,
137 ; New York game, 140 ;
first match in New England
under New York rules, 141;
in politics, 197.
Bean blowers, 19.
Bear dance, 118.
Beebe, J. Arthur, 96, 97.
Belches, Clude, 176.
Bigelow, Albert S., 4.
Bigelow, Horatio, 4.
Bigelow, , 144.
Biglin Brothers, 51.
Blaikie, Thomas, 53, 83.
Blaikie, William, 53, 54, 83.
Blanchard, Thomas, 78, 79.
Blashfield, Edwin H., 104.
Boardman, T. Dennie, 4.
Bodge, Dr. James, 83.
Boit, Robert A., 82, 93, 94.
Boston B. B. C, 204.
Boston Common plowed up,
Boston Public Latin School,
4, 8i f 106, 122, 174.
Bowditch, Edward, 93, 94.
Bowdoin B. B. C, 143.
Bow guns, 21.
Boylston Hall, 106.
Bradford, John H., 82.
Bradish, Albert, 131.
Bradstreet, Augustus, 96, 131.
Bradstreet, Samuel, 96-98, 129,
Brainard, Asa, 150, 163, 202.
Braman's Baths, 49.
Braman, Grenville T. W., 59.
Braman, Jarvis D., 58.
Britt, James, 113.
Brooks, Arthur, 96, 123.
Burgess, Edward, 98, 100.
Cabot, Samuel, 96, 99.
Carroll, Jack, 35.
Chadwick, Henry, 127.
Chadwick, Dr. J. R., 35, 82.
Chamberlin, Charles W., 35,
Chandler, Horace P., 145.
Chandler, Moses E., 144, 152,
Chandler, Hon. Peleg W., 145.
Charter Oak B. B. C, 192.
Chickering, Jonas, 94.
Cigarette smoking, 7.
Cincinnati Red Stockings' phe-
nomenal tour, 210.
Civil War, 104, 117, 128, 144.
Clark, ArthurH., 34, 56, 58, 63.
Clark, Edward, 53, 83.
Clark, Robert F., 34, 55, 56,
Clark, , 148.
Coe, Oliver B., 109.
Coe, Henry F., 144.
Codman, Doctor, no.
Cook, , 1 50.
Coughlihan, John, 108.
Crane, Fred, 185.
Creighton, James, 150, 151,
Crosby, Albert, 143.
Crowninshield, Caspar, 61.
Crowninshield, Fredk., 35, 72.
Crowley, Daniel, no.
Crowley, , 143.
Cummings, , 190.
Curtis, Edgar, 4, 35.
Curtis, Horatio G., 35, 75, 101.
Dale, Eben, 35.
Daly, Thomas, 61, 62.
Davis, Frank, 93, 97.
Daw, , 61.
Dillaway, Charles, no.
Dinsmore, , 144.
Dixwell, E. S., 81.
Dixwell's Private Latin School,
Doldt, John C, 107, 108, no,
Doyle, Thomas, 55, 62.
Duck shooting, 66.
Duff, John, 83.
Dwight, Dr. Thomas, 82, 83.
Edmands, Col. Thomas F., 36.
Elliot, W. H., 59, 62.
Ellsworth, Col., 118.
Ellsworth Zouaves, 118.
Eon B. B. C, 177, 187.
Erving, , 62.
Excelsior B. B. C, 149, 162.
Fay, Henry H., 96.
Fay, Joseph S., 96, 112.
Fay, William P., 35.
Faulkner, John, 26.
Fenno, Edward N., 83, 112.
Field, W. DeYoung, 96.
Fiske, Charles, 154.
Fiske, William, 109.
Fitzsimmons, Robert, 113.
Flagg, George A., 154, 182.
Flagstaff Hill, 33, 100.
Flanly, George, 150, 163.
Fletcher, , 144.
Flyaway B. B. C, 179.
Follow my Leader, n.
Forbes, Hon. John M., 80.
Forbes, J. Malcolm, 80, 91, 97,
Forbush, Harry, 129, 144.
Fort Wagner, 121.
Fort Warren, 123.
Freeman, Horace V., 35.
Freeman, P. Wilder, Jr.,35, 121.
French, Charles, no.
French, William, 146.
Frog Pond, 13, 17, 70.
Frothingham, Donald, 53, 83.
Frothingham, Frederick, 53.
Frothingham, Robert, 53.
Frothingham, Samuel, 53, 8^>
Gardner, Francis, 4, 106, 173,
Gardner, , 143.
Gill, Harry, 143.
Goddard, William, 82.
Godfrey, George, in.
Goldsmith, W. G., 59, 62.
Goss, George, 109.
Gould, Charles, 202.
Granite B. B. C, 184.
Greenleaf, Eugene D., 154.
Greenough, Alfred, 34, 82.
Greenough, Charles P., 35.
Greenough, Malcolm, 96.
Guild, Benjamin F., 144.
Hall, John P., 53, 85, 91, 93,
Hammill, James, 51.
Hampshire B. B. C, 161.
Hancock B. B. C, 129.
Hand fire engines, 67.
Hanlon Brothers, 114.
Hanlon, Thomas, 114, 115.
Hanlon, William, 114.
Harlow, Edward, 176.
Harmony, Lieut., U. S. N.,
Harrington, Eben, 55.
Harris, Dr. Frank A., 154.
Harvard B. B. C, organization
Harvards and Athletics, 187.
Hawes, Henry, 148, 173, 174.
Hawley, James, 4.
Heavy weight system, 117.
Heenan, John C, 113.
Herreshoff, Frank, 192.
Herreshoff, Nathaniel, 193.
a 3 8
Higginson, Francis L., 75.
Hill, James, 110-112.
Holmes, Edward, 65.
Holmes, Dr. Oliver Wendell,
Hovey, Henry S., 4.
Hovey, James L., 176.
Howe, Archibald M., 4.
Howland, Otis N., 109.
Hunnewell, Arthur, 154.
Hunnewell, Walter, 82, 97.
Ice hockey, 115.
Jackson, Charles C, 75.
Jackson, Frank, 53.
Jackson, James, 75.
Jackson, Patrick T., 82, 99.
Jamaica Pond, 15.
Jarvis Field, 186.
Jewell, Edward, 191.
Jewell, , 163.
Joslin, William B., 78, 148, 152,
161, 163, 164, 191.
Julio, Everett, 109.
Kendall, Edward, 35.
Kendrick, Thomas, no.
Kennedy, Mortimer, 109.
King Phillip B. B. C, 184.
Kimball, Tread well, 107-109.
Kinsley, , 62.
Kite flying, 43.
Lawrence, Frank, 35.
Lawrence, Dr. Robt. M., 4, 83,
Leach, George B., 143.
Leggett, Joseph, 150, 151, 190.
Leonard, Andrew, 202.
Little finger pull-up, 116.
Lodge, Henry Cabot, 95.
Long coast, 31.
Longest prize fight on record,
Longwood Cricket Club, 76.
Loring, Frank, 75.
Loring, , 174.
Lovett, Charles W., Jr., 36, 66.
Lowell, John' A., 143, 145, 146,
150, 159, 163, 164, 176, 198,
Lowell B. B. C, organization
Lowells and Athletics, 187.
Lowells and Atlantics, 168.
Lowells and Brown University,
Lowells and Excelsiors, 190.
Lowells and Flyaways, 177.
Lowells and Hampshires, 161.
Lowells and Harvards, 160,
161, 170, 171, 177, 186, 195,
Lowells and Medfords, 147.
Lowells and Mutuals, 200.
Lowells and Phillips Academy,
Lowells' New England trip,
Lowells' New York trip, 162.
Lowells and Red Stockings,
Lowells and Rockinghams,
Lowells and Tri-Mountains,
Lowells and Yales, 191.
Lowell B. B. C, its dissolu-
Lurking or " off side," 99.
Lyman, Charles, 4.
Lyman, Frederick, 4.
Lyman, George H., 96.
Lyons, , 144.
Magenta as Harvards' color,
Manning, Frank H., 96.
Mansfield, George, no.
Mason, Philip, 75.
McBurney, Dr. Charles, 82,
McBurney, John, 83.
McVey, Calvin, 202.
Mellen, Moses, 78, 79.
Mifflin, George H., 72, 75, 96.
Military funeral, 121.
Miller, Gerrit S., 81, 83, 85,
93, 100, 147, 152, 153, 161,
163, 169, 190.
Morse, Charles, 96.
Morse, E. Rollins, 96.
Motley, Thomas, 96.
Mudge, Joseph, no.
Muliken, John, 35.
Mutual B. B. C, 200.
National game, the, 127, 128.
Nazro, Fred. H., 131, 183.
Nelson, " Battling," 113.
Nelson, Thomas, 83, 88, 89, 97,
Nelson's great strike, 171.
Newell, Robert, 82.
Nicholson, Frank, 96.
Norton, Frank, 168, 169.
Oceanic B. B. C, 192.
Olympic B. B. C, 129.
Oneida Football Club, 91.
Open jackets, 6.
Outfielding, up to date, 166.
Oviatt, John, 83, 131.
Paine, Sumner, 83.
Parade Ground, 22, 23, 48, 96,
100, 102, 203.
Parker, George, 154.
Parker, John, 109.
Parkman, S. B., 59-61.
Peabody, Rev. Frank G M 35,
Peabody, Robert S., 82, 83, 97.
Pearce, Richard, 164, 165.
Pearsall, , 150.
Perch Rocks, 44.
Phelps, Franklin, 3, 4.
Phillips Academy B. B. C,
Phillips School, 80,
Plummer, H. P., 109.
Polhemus, , 150.
Portland B. B. C, 141.
Portland big fire, 177.
Pratt, Robert M., 56, 58, 62.
Proctor, George, 109.
Public Garden, 11, 16.
Putnam, John, 56-58.
Putty balls, 21.
Rand, Charles, 82.
Rapp, , 148.
Recruiting on Boston Com-
Resolute B. B. C, 162.
Richards, George G., 146.
Richards, Jeremiah, 148.
Rimmer, Dr., 108.
Robins, Richard, 35.
Rockingham B. B. C, 189.
Rogers, Henry M., 42.
Rogers, Mortimer M., 165, 185,
Ropes, Henry, 62.
Rounders, 126, 127.
Rowing, 53, 55.
Russell, Cabot, 96, 121.
Russell, , 150.
St. George Cricket Club, 76.
Saltzman, E.G., 140, 141, 144,
Sanguilly, William B., 53.
Sargent, Daniel, 34, 37.
Sargent, William, 90.
Sawyer, B. George, 143.
Sayers, Tom, 113.
Scudder, Winthrop S., 93, 94.
Shattuck, Dr. Fred. C, 83.
Shaw, Robert G., 186.
Shea, John, no.
Shimmin, Charles F., 62.
Shurtleff, Dr. Nathaniel B.,
Shurtleff, Nathaniel B., Jr.,
Silver ball, 159; its destruction,
160; its withdrawal, 189.
Smith, M. S., 62.
Snow Brothers, no.
Snow forts, 26.
South and West End fights,
Spaulding, Albert G., 126.
Sprague, Edward E., 154.
Spring, William, no.
Stafford, Marshall P., 146.
Stanwood, Lemuel, 96.
Start, Joe, 168.
Stevenson, Robert H., 56, 58.
Stevenson, Gen. Thomas G.,
Stewart, , 106.
Stewart's Gymnasium, 106.
Storrow, J. J., 59.
Streeter, Lee, no.
Sturgis, Dr. Fred, 65.
Sturgis, Henry, 75.
Sullivan, George S. B., 146.
Sumner, Frank, 163, 164, 185,
Sweasey, Charles, 202.
Thayer, Van Rensselaer, 96.
Thies, Louis, 93, 94.
Three old cats, 127.
Towne, Alexander, 72.
Town ball, 127.
Town crier, 9.
Tremont Gymnasium, 107, 114.
Tri-Mountain B. B. C, 141,
Triple trapeze act, 114.
Troupe, Charles, 46, 135, 152.
Tucker, Lawrence, 82, 93, 94.
Tyler, John, 53, 64.
Underhand throwing, 151.
Volant crew, 56.
Volant and Huron race, 56.
Walcott, C. F., 59, 62.
Walley, William, 96.
Ward, Josh, 51.
Warren, Dr. J. Collins, 75.
Waterman, Frederick, 202.
Watson, R. Clifford, 83, 85,
Webster, Col. Fletcher, 122.
Wells, Dr. Frank, 35.
Whitman, Alfred, Jr., 59, 109.
Whitman, Henry, 109.
Wilder, George B., 146, 147,
152, 163, 164.
Wildes, Frank, 35.
Winship, Dr., 116.
Winship Gymnasium, 116.
Wolcott, Huntington, 93, 94,
Wolcott, Roger, 94.
Wright, Frank, 154, 155.
Wright, George, 76, 77, 202.
Wright, Harry, 202.
Young, , 150.
Young Men's Christian Ass'n,
INDEX TO NOTES
Agassiz, Alex. E. R., 222.
Bass, George, 229.
Burnham, Arthur, 229.
Crimson, formally adopted
as Harvard color, 232.
Crowninshield, Benj. W.,
Crowninshield, Caspar, 222.
Darbishire, S. D., 229.
Eliot, Charles W., 222.
Ellison, James H., 222.
Fay, Joseph S., Jr., 229.
Hall, J. H., 229.
Harvard-Oxford race, 227.
Huntington, Bishop Fred-
eric Dan, 223.
Huntington, Rev. Wm. R.,
London Rowing Club, 229.
Loring, Alden P., 229.
Lyman, F. O., 229.
Rice, Sylvester W., 229.
Shell, first one owned by
Harvard College, 222.
Shell, first six-oar built in
Simmons, Wm. H., 229.
Sliding seats, introduction
Spoon oars, introduction of,
Tinne, J. C, 229.
Volant and Huron race,
Volant crew, 220, 221.
Wales, J. H., 222.
Willan, F., 229.
Yarborough, A. C, 229.
Electrotyped and printed by H. O. Houghton &" Co,
Cambridge ; Mass., U. S. A.